Should not count on emergence of democracy to stabilize Middle East
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The second mistake would be to count on the emergence of democracy to pacify the region. It is true that mature democracies tend not to wage war on one another. Unfortunately, creating mature democracies is no easy task, and even if the effort ultimately succeeds, it takes decades. In the interim, the U.S. government must continue to work with many nondemocratic governments. Democracy is not the answer to terrorism, either. It is plausible that young men and women coming of age would be less likely to become terrorists if they belonged to societies that offered them political and economic opportunities. But recent events suggest that even those who grow up in mature democracies, such as the United Kingdom, are not immune to the pull of radicalism. The fact that both Hamas and Hezbollah fared well in elections and then carried out violent attacks reinforces the point that democratic reform does not guarantee quiet. And democratization is of little use when dealing with radicals whose platforms have no hope of receiving majority support. More useful initiatives would be actions designed to reform educational systems, promote economic liberalization and open markets, encourage Arab and Muslim authorities to speak out in ways that delegitimize terrorism and shame its supporters, and address the grievances that motivate young men and women to take it up.
"The New Middle East
." Foreign Policy
. Vol. 85, No. 6 (November / December 2006): 2-11. [ More