Friday, March 04, 2005


But the revolutions are not the Leftist type, fortunately

"We are living in a revolutionary age, that started more than a quarter century ago in Spain after the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. At that time, hardly anyone believed it possible to go from dictatorship to democracy without great violence, and most Spaniards feared that the terrible civil war of the 1930s - which ended when Franco seized power and installed a military dictatorship - would begin anew. Instead, thanks to a remarkable generation of political leaders, some savvy priests, and the grossly underrated King Juan Carlos, Spain passed smoothly and gracefully into democracy.

It was the beginning of the Age of the Second Democratic Revolution. Spain inspired Portugal, and the second Iberian dictatorship gave way to democracy. Spain and Portugal inspired all of Latin America, and by the time Ronald Reagan left office there were only two unelected governments south of the Rio Grande: Cuba and Surinam. These successful revolutions inspired the Soviet satellites, and then the Soviet Union itself, and the global democratic revolution reached into Africa and Asia, even threatening the tyrants in Beijing.

The United States played a largely positive role in almost all these revolutions, thanks to a visionary president - Ronald Reagan - and a generation of other revolutionary leaders in the West: Walesa, Havel, Thatcher, John Paul II, Bukovsky, Sharansky, among others.

During the Reagan years, the revolution began on the periphery of the major conflict, in Iberia. Following 9/11, the revolution was brought violently to the periphery of the Middle East, in Afghanistan. It swept through Iraq, taking time to liberate Ukraine (against whose independence Bush the Elder spoke so shamefully), and now threatens Syrian hegemony over Lebanon, if not the Syrian regime itself, and has forced the Egyptian and Saudi regimes to at least a pretense of democratic change....

Our most lethal weapon against the tyrants is freedom, and it is now spreading on the wings of democratic revolution. It would be tragic if we backed off now, when revolution is gathering momentum for a glorious victory. We must be unyielding in our demand that the peoples of the Middle East design their own polities, and elect their own leaders. The first step, as it has been in both Afghanistan and Iraq, is a national referendum to choose the form of government. In Iran, the people should be asked if they want an Islamic republic. In Syria, if they want a Baathist state. In Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Libya, if they want more of the same. We should not be deterred by the cynics who warn that freedom will make things worse, because the ignorant masses will opt for the fantasmagorical caliphate of the increasingly irrelevant Osama bin Laden. Mubarak and Qadaffi and Assad and Khamenei are arresting democrats, not Islamists, and the women of Saudi Arabia are not likely to demand to remain shrouded for the rest of their lives.

Faster, please. The self-proclaimed experts have been wrong for generations. This is a revolutionary moment. Go for it".

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