Saturday, January 15, 2011

Belmont Club » Is Democracy Cool Again?

Belmont Club » Is Democracy Cool Again?
The Freedom Agenda is respectable again. After years of laughing at the idea that spreading democracy was America’s most useful foreign policy weapon and touting grand bargains with the worst regimes in world, even the New York Times sees in the departure of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali the startling idea that Arabs will not necessarily tolerate tyranny forever.
Let's hope the administration doesn't bungle this one. It may be like Venona, the case for make wikileaks public was pretty strong.

My email to the UU PeaceMaker's listserv,

Revolutions are violent, and they can turn out badly, but right now it's hard not to be happy and optimistic about Tunisia. My blog post and the wikileak that may have helped spur the revolution:

The leak:

"Tunisia is a police state, with little freedom of expression or association, and serious human rights problems."

"The problem is clear: Tunisia has been ruled by the same president for 22 years. He has no successor. And, while President Ben Ali deserves credit for continuing many of the progressive policies of President Bourguiba, he and his regime have lost touch with the Tunisian people. They tolerate no advice or criticism, whether domestic or international. Increasingly, they rely on the police for control and focus on preserving power. And, corruption in the inner circle is growing. Even average Tunisians are now keenly aware of it, and the chorus of complaints is rising. Tunisians intensely dislike, even hate, First Lady Leila Trabelsi and her family. In private, regime opponents mock her; even those close to the government express dismay at her reported behavior. Meanwhile, anger is growing at Tunisia's high unemployment and regional inequities. As a consequence, the risks to the regime's long-term stability are increasing."

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