The Corner

re: Freedom isn’t Free

Andy, let me address what you identify as the three assumptions of Bush policy:

(a) freedom is the universal desire of all mankind.

We may disagree on this one.  At the risk of debating a negative, what is your evidence to the contrary?

(b) given the opportunity, Islamic countries are sure to choose democracy despite aspects of their own culture(s) which regard democracy (or enlightened liberty as commonly understood) to be depraved, or at least un-Islamic.

There needs to be a balance of both “choice” and construction of the template for “choice.”  In this case, the Korean experience is perhaps most apt.

(c) a country is a “democracy” if it holds a few elections and has a constitution, notwithstanding the dearth of democracy’s cultural underpinnings (not least which is a people’s perception of itself as a single body politic of equal citizens sharing a common destiny).

We don’t disagree here; this goes into issues of implementation and the nature of accountability.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.