Wednesday, February 02, 2011

George Jonas on the events in North Africa

I am also afraid of what will replace the tyrants in the middle east. The example of Iran still haunts us.

George Jonas: Egypt will have a hard time building democracy without democrats
George Jonas February 2, 2011 – 8:40 am

AFP / Getty Images
Hosni Mubarak addresses the Egyptian people and announces that he will not seek re-election, ending three decades of rule.
Popular uprisings toppling strongmen in the Middle East may or may not be good news for Western democracies. It may or may not be good news for the countries involved. It depends on who replaces the strongmen. Stronger men? Weaker men? Better men? Democrats?

Democracy is a fragile system. When it functions, it outperforms any other and looks magnificent doing it; but like an exotic car, it’s usually in the garage for a tune-up. So far, democracy hasn’t functioned consistently except in a handful of Western countries. All too often it replaces tottering tyrannies only to pave the way for more vigorous tyrants. In several parts of the world, democracy has been the harbinger of totalitarianism, or a prelude to a right-wing dictatorship becoming a left-wing dictatorship or vice versa.

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