The demotion of democratization as a foreign policy priority left the Obama administration “intellectually unprepared” for the “strategically complicated” predicament it faces in the Middle East, writes Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic.
“Realism does not equip one for an adequate appreciation of the historical force of the democratic longing,” he writes.
Conflating democratization with military invasion and implying that democracy assistance is an imposition generates a mindset that gives engagement and dialog undue priority over commitment and siding with a just cause:
The promotion of democracy is a policy of support for indigenous Egyptian, or Arab, or Muslim democrats who are just as authentic as Egyptian, or Arab, or Muslim autocrats and theocrats,…. It is a policy …..of taking sides—specifically, of taking sides with peoples against regimes. It does not create dissidents,…. it finds them, and then it assists them, because they are in need of assistance, and because assisting them expresses our values and our interests.