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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Democracy? Unlikely

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told an audience in Egypt that America's policy towards the Middle East has been wrong for a very long time:

"For 60 years my country pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people. Throughout the Middle East, the fear of free choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty. It is time to abandon the excuses that are made to avoid the hard work of democracy."

Robert Fisk makes justified mince-meat of Rice's deluded utterings:

"I don't think there's going to be democracy in the Middle East and I don't really think we want democracy. One of the problems of democracy in the Middle East is that, if it really exists, the Arabs may not do what we want them to do, and it's much more easy to have dictators, generals, businessmen running countries on our behalf, rather than saying, "Let's have a fair vote", because in many cases, we may find Islamist governments take over, which we don't want."

Fisk continues on last night's ABC Lateline - for the record, why is SBS Dateline the only other show on Australian television who ever features arguably the world's greatest foreign correspondent? - and highlights the rank hypocrisy and Western-centric perspective of Rice's speech:

"If you live in the Middle East, it doesn't look like this. The Arab world, which is principally what we're talking about, would love some of this shiny beautiful democracy which we possess and enjoy. They would love some of it. They would like some freedom. But many of them would like freedom from us - from our armies, from our influence. And that's the problem, you see. What Arabs want is justice as much as democracy. They want freedom from us, in many cases. And they're not going to get that. They're not going to get it in Uzbekistan, which is not apparently in the little circle of democracy which Condoleezza Rice is talking about. I'd like to believe that what the Americans say is true, but living here, I don't believe it is."

Of course, those with the most to gain from Iraqi "democracy", the pro-war crowd still crowing about success and free elections and heart-warming tales of electricity given and torture offered, continue their little delusions. Never let facts get in the way of healthy propaganda. American casualties in Iraq are skyrocketing and leaders are starting to prepare their citizens for the long haul. Disaster has struck.


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