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March 06, 2005

The Sharansky moment?

Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post wonders about the Sharansky moment.

Today it is beyond debate that Sharansky has deeply influenced US President George W. Bush's thinking on international affairs. After reading Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy, Bush told The New York Times that Sharansky's worldview "is part of my presidential DNA." This Sharansky-inspired "presidential DNA" posits that the Arab world's conflict with Israel, like its support for global jihad, will end when the Arab world democratizes. In Sharansky's view, once Arabs are governed democratically, they will not wish to sustain the conflict.

* * * * *

What is happening in our neighboring lands is nothing short of a revolution. There has never before been a situation in the Arab world where so many people have been willing to stand up to their regimes and demand their freedom. Although the Arab revolution is only in its earliest phases – and it is impossible to foresee what will transpire in the coming days, months and years – the very fact that the Arab world has responded so dramatically to the Iraqi elections at the end of January and to Bush's call for democracy seems to be a full vindication of both Sharansky's political theory and of Bush's decision to graft it onto his genetic code.
But she worries a lot about the Israeli government.
Ironically, it is Israel's democratically elected leadership that has been most opposed to the notion of Arab democracy. Sharon and Vice Premier Shimon Peres have passively and actively colluded with those who reject the Bush-Sharansky Doctrine in the US State Department to ensure it remains unapplied among the Palestinians.

Sharansky wrote in his book that when he presented his ideas to Sharon, the prime minister told him that they "have no place in the Middle East." One of Sharon's advisers reportedly said that Sharon "views Sharansky's ideas with scorn." Peres, the father of the idea of replacing Israel's Civil Administration in the territories with a PLO dictatorship imported from Tunis, has spoken vacuously of the need to build an "economic democracy" – rather than a political democracy – among the Palestinians.
According to Glick, this has serious consequences.
Israel's decision to prefer the rule of Arafat's deputy to genuine democratic transformation in the PA has paved the way for the international community's embrace of Abbas. Rather than demand an accounting for the billions of dollars in international aid that were stolen by Arafat (and by Abbas and PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and their associates), in London this week the international community pledged to transfer more than a billion additional dollars to the PA.

Buoyed by this unqualified support, Abbas is now demanding that the international community drop the demand that he fight terrorists and enable the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state immediately. The EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, has already accepted this position.
She concludes that there is a question which road will be taken.
So in the space of one week, we see the consequences of both the Bush-Sharansky Doctrine and the appeasement-based status quo in action. While the region's war-torn, radical and terror-engendering history tells us what the ultimate consequences of the status quo will be, we have yet to harvest the fruits of the Bush-Sharansky-inspired revolution.

The main question we should be concerning ourselves with now is whether the revolution will be extended to the Palestinians or whether – once Sharon-Peres-style appeasement is grafted onto its genetic code – the revolution will fade away and be forgotten.
So far, things are continuing to break in favor of Bush and Sharansky. There is plenty of reason to speak out at this point, but so far, there is surprisingly little reason to fear.