Tuesday, May 04, 2004

"Eats bushes and leaves" Waitaminnit, that's koalas

Papa Aardvark links to Daniel Brumberg on Arab liberalization...

Brumberg argues that strategies to promote civil society and reform from below aren't going to work. Only tackling authoritarian states head on from the top down will make a difference; otherwise, you'll just fall into the 'liberalized autocracy' trap....Brumberg is frank about real democracy promotion being a revolutionary agenda which may well bring hostile Islamists into power, and warns that such an Islamist victory - or an Algeria style military counter-coup - is "precisely the hellish outcome that the political purgatory of liberalized autocracy is meant to avoid."
...and the battle for hearts and minds.
I especially like the quotes from Dan Byman (""We tend to assume that you make policy and then you spin it, but before you make the policy you have to have an idea how it will spin. There is a limit to what will be accomplished here.") and Samer Shehata (""It is not the case that Arabs and Muslims feel antipathy towards the US because they are being brainwashed by al-Jazeera or reading state-controlled media in Egypt - it's American policy. Regardless of how many radio stations you have that that play great music, or TV stations like al-Hurra, as long as US policy - whether it be in Iraq or Palestine - remains the same you are not going to win hearts and minds.") Always nice to know that the aardvark isn't the only, um, person who thinks these things.