Blogs > HNN > Jack Snyder reviewed Natan Sharansky & Ron Dermer's "The Case for Democracy: the Power of Freedom to 0vercome Tyranny & Terror," (Public Affairs, 2005)

Jan 22, 2005 11:55 am


Jack Snyder reviewed Natan Sharansky & Ron Dermer's "The Case for Democracy: the Power of Freedom to 0vercome Tyranny & Terror," (Public Affairs, 2005)




Natan Sharansky is well known for his heroic resistance and imprisonment within the USSR before he was finally permitted to immigrate to Israel.

Sharansky argues that there need be few if any concessions to Palestinians until they create a democratic society. Yet reviewer Jack Snyder, the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International relations at Columbia University, wonders how peace will be attained between the warring parties “if Israel defers making the meaningful concessions on territory and settlements that any democratically elected Palestinian leader will need in order to survive, let alone succeed.”

Sharansky arguments are based on his beliefs that free and democratic nations are peaceful and that preconditions for transforming a society into a democracy do not matter, both of which Snyder believes is “dubious.”

“Sharansky’s most egregious blind spot is failing to see how the indignities of occupation and the expansion of Israeli settlements play into the hands of the undemocratic Palestinian hatemongers he abhors.”

It has been reported in the New York Times (Jan.22, 2005) that President Bush has been reading and influenced by this book. “If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky’s book,” the President told the Washington Times (Jan. 12). “It’s a great book.”

Snyder disagrees. “President Bush needs to expand his reading list beyond this book to find a good answer to Israelis’ and Palestinians’ problems—let alone those of Iraq and the larger Middle East.”

Washington Post National Weekly Edition, January 10-16, 2005



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