Michael Freund: This is not 1776 ... Jeffersonian-style democracy isn’t about to flourish throughout the region





[Michael Freund writes a syndicated column for the Jerusalem Post.]

As the revolt against tyranny spreads across the Middle East, shaking the very foundations of the Arab political order, it appears as if we are at the doorstep of a new and uncharted world.

Old certainties, like the sands of Arabia, are rapidly being swept away, leaving Israel and the West peering into a potential vacuum of insecurity and doubt.

The thought of the Muslim Brotherhood rising to power in Egypt, or radical Islamists seizing control of Jordan or Yemen, is enough to make even the most sober analysts reach for some Johnnie Walker.

Just think about it: The entire strategic balance in the region could easily come unhinged if forces hostile to the US and its allies gain greater clout thanks to the popular unrest.

Democracy, of course, is still the best system invented by mankind, so it is only natural that many wish to cheer on the protesters and see them prevail. After all, why should Libyans have to chafe under the quixotic rule of crazy Muammar Gaddafi, or Qataris be forced to submit to the whims of their eccentric emir? But democracy also has its flaws, and chief among them is the fact that the people have the right to be wrong, and to choose the worst possible leaders...


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