Sunday, July 16, 2006

Of pots and kettles and such

Rice rejected the notion that U.S. operations in Iraq have shaken Middle East stability, arguing, "Those hostilities were not very well contained, as we found out on Sept. 11, and so the notion that somehow policies that finally confront extremism are actually causing extremism, I find grotesque."

WaPo's Fred Hiatt:
The movement to combat democracy

By Fred Hiatt

When communism collapsed in 1991, no one expected democracy to triumph everywhere and instantly. But no one expected the other side to fight back, either. After all, what was "the other side''?

Yet as President Vladimir Putin hosts the first summit of Group of Eight leaders in Russia, the most notable thing isn't that his country has failed to become the consolidated democracy that the G-7 countries expected when they invited Russia to join a decade ago. What is remarkable -- but has been little remarked on -- is that Putin has become a leader and an emblem of an active movement to combat the spread of democracy.

"What seems to be the case,'' Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told me, "is that governments that are authoritarian have decided to fight back.''

Lugar chaired a hearing last month on "The Backlash Against Democracy Assistance,'' which is the title of a report he commissioned from the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, federally funded organization created in 1983 to promote democratic institutions around the world. The organization found the backlash to be most pronounced in what Carl Gershman, NED's president, calls ``hybrid regimes'': autocracies that maintain some nominally democratic processes, usually including elections, and that generally claim to be democracies.

Mustache of Freedom:
(W)hy do parties like Hamas and Hezbollah get elected? Often because they effectively run against the corruption of the old secular state-controlled parties, noted Mr. Ezrahi. But once these Islamists are in office they revert to serving their own factional interests, not those of the broad community.

I believe shrinks have a word for this phenomenon:


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