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Islamic Democracy?
The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East, by Reuel Marc Gerecht (Hoover, 148 pp., $19.95); Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism, by Charles Hill (Hoover, 170 pp., $19.95)


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As he has argued in the decade since 9/11, Gerecht says that Arab strongmen only feign support for the U.S. while privately encouraging home-grown dissidents to turn on us, on the pretext that Washington, not Cairo, Tunis, or Amman, made the Arab Street poor and unfree. The Middle East public, Gerecht believes, is anti-American and seemingly illiberal not necessarily because of radical Islam or intrinsic hatred of the West, but because it has been so abused and manipulated by its own governments, often with a Western wink and nod.

Thus the only way to end these sick relationships is through the messy catharses of democratic change, for clearly there is popular discontent with both Iranian-style theocracy and Egyptian-style autocracy, the common theme being an oppressive police state that ruins the economy. The trick for the West, Gerecht further thinks, is to promote democratic reformers, concede that under intermediate referenda angry anti-Westerners might come to the fore, but ultimately trust that democracy within an Arab Islamic context will, for all its unpleasant rhetoric and distance from the American town hall, prove far better for the masses, and hence far better for America as well.


Contents
August 1, 2011    |     Volume LXIII, No. 14

Articles
Features
Books, Arts & Manners
  • David Paul Deavel reviews G. K. Chesterton: A Biography, by Ian Ker.
  • Victor Davis Hanson reviews The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East, by Reuel Marc Gerecht, and Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism, by Charles Hill.
  • Daniel J. Mahoney reviews Why Niebuhr Now?, by John Patrick Diggins.
  • John Derbyshire reviews Such Is This [email protected], by Hu Fayun, translated by A. E. Clark.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II.
Sections
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
The Bent Pin  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .