President Bush has delivered a major address last Thursday to the National Endowment for Democracy. In it, he challenged Iran, Syria and two crucial Middle East allies – Egypt and Saudi Arabia – to begin embracing democratic traditions. The president asked these nations to view the fall of Saddam Hussein as a “watershed event in the global democratic revolution.”
If this was about communism, I might agree. Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union liberated themselves, but the Middle East is a snake pit of corrupted religion married to tainted politics.
I have been to the region many times. People who believe you and I are infidels are not about to embrace Western-style democracy, especially when they believe their god wants to marry his church with their states.
America’s idea of freedom is not the one held by many Middle Easterners. They see themselves free only in their religion and they believe the license our freedom has produced is something to be rejected, not embraced.
I hope the president is right and I’m wrong, but I doubt that will be the case.
I’m Cal Thomas in Washington.