February 23, 2005

DEMOCRACY IN LEBANON: Jim Geraghty notices Lebanese crediting the U.S. invasion of Iraq for jump-starting interest in liberating Lebanon from Syrian influence:

“It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq,” explains Jumblatt. “I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.” Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. “The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.”

Those damn idealistic neo-cons. Don’t they realize that Arabs don’t care about democracy?

UPDATE: Via The Belgravia Dispatch, we get this:

I must say, that those who mock haven’t been paying attention to the empirical data that’s been piling up. First, we had the Afghan election last fall with this extraordinary turnout. Then we had the Palestinian election. Then we had the Iraqi election. We’re going to have a parliamentary election in Afghanistan in the spring. So this isn’t a theory anymore, this is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East and it is absolutely revolutionary, these free and fair elections.

It’s true, of course, as I’ve noted before, that democratization is a process, not an event. But the process is under way. We need to be sure it keeps going.

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