Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Tuesday, December 03, 2002
David Frum has an excellent appreciation of Elliot Abrams in his diary today. Check it out. Abrams is a personal foreign-policy hero, an admirable man who made an enormous difference to the lives of millions in this hemisphere, and for his pains was called a criminal. He'd be an enormous asset to the Near East desk. I'd like it even better if he were cleaning out the Aegean stables at State.

As for democratizing the Middle East, I'm long-term optimistic (because I believe in human freedom) but pessimistic short-term. As I've argued many times, the precondition for democratization is true nationalism and a precondition for true nationalism is a patriotic elite. That elite is largely nonexistent in the Middle East. It exists in the Turkish officer corps. I believe it exists in Iran. I have hopes, longer-term, for Algeria and Egypt. That's about it. I don't believe Islam is incompatible with democracy and freedom; the same arguments used to be made about Catholicism. I do believe that Islam as currently practiced in the Arab world is self-consciously the enemy of democracy, and this is rather different from the situation in Chile or South Korea in the 1980s, or in Spain or Taiwan in the 1970s. Nonetheless: much luck to him. Let's see if he makes Michael Ledeen a little happier on Iran.