Peter Ferrara: The Bush Doctrine Is Still Working

Roundup: Talking About History

[Peter Ferrara served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.]

A central theme of President Bush's administration was to promote democracy in the Middle East. He argued that establishing a full fledged democracy in Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would have transforming effects throughout the Muslim World. Even though the promotion of human rights and democracy had been a central theme of liberal foreign policy for decades, the Left ridiculed Bush's policy as hopelessly naïve. Even some on the right echoed this criticism.

But recent trends throughout the Middle East show that this policy is now producing a growing, very powerful effect in countering Islamic extremism and terrorism, just as Bush originally envisioned. The most recent example of this is the elections in Lebanon, where the pro-Western coalition in power there was reelected last month with a slightly increased majority over the Islamic extremist Hezbollah coalition, despite Iranian funding estimated in the billions for Hezbollah.

When the pro-Western coalition was first elected in Lebanon in 2005, it soon chased the Syrian army out of the country, ending the occupation started over 20 years ago during the Lebanese civil war. That was a huge victory for America and the West for which Bush received no credit.

Another recent example comes from Kuwait, where the public mostly voted for secular parties, rejecting the Islamic extremists in even electing women to the legislature for the first time, contrary to extremist strictures. Elections in Pakistan have probably been the most important of all, with the public overwhelmingly choosing secular parties over Islamic extremists. In the 2002 election, the extremists were revealed as a fringe element with only about 11% of the vote. In the more recent election in 2008, they got only 2%, winning only 6 out of 270 seats. This was another big victory, revealing the lack of appeal by the Taliban and Al Qaeda in that critical country.

In Iraq itself, we have seen the same results. The public votes for secular parties, not Islamic extremists. Indeed, despite all the talk from the Left about how Bush only alienated the Islamic street, we don't see anti-American candidates in Iraq even running let alone winning.

Another big turning point came in Morocco in 2007. The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) was projected to win the parliamentary elections. But when the votes were counted, PJD had won only 14% of the vote, and a conservative party aligned with the traditional King had won. In municipal elections this past April, the PJD sunk to 7% of the vote. In Jordan in 2007, the Islamic Action Front won just 6 of the 22 seats it contested, down from 17 seats in the previous parliament.

Absent democracy, the roughly 10% of the public in Middle Eastern, Islamic countries willing to shoot their way into power in the name of Allah seems dominant. Actual elections reveal them to be fringe, extremist groups, greatly diminishing their power in favor of reasonable, secular leaders. As a result, the Bush doctrine of advancing democracy and human rights is now increasingly successful in combating terrorism and Islamic extremism.

Now we are seeing these same results in Iran. Where did the people of Iran get the idea that they were entitled to an honest election? They haven't had an honest election there in over 50 years. Maybe it comes from watching their Shiite brothers voting in honest, free elections in neighboring Iraq. And maybe it comes as well from watching the same in neighboring Afghanistan, which had formerly been seen as hopelessly backward for centuries.

Iran's recent sham election fiasco is the biggest victory of all for America and the West, again courtesy of the Bush doctrine of promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East...

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Arnold Shcherban - 7/8/2009

in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, where the minute all NATO troops and the threat of US aggression are out (that's why they never will be) the more brutal regimes than was Saddam Hussein's are going to set up.
One of the sloppiest attempts to legitimize the US aggression in Middle East and political legacy of Bush presidency I have read on these pages.