In one of his first statements since leaving office, former President George W. Bush remarked on Middle East developments in an article, “The Arab Spring and American Ideals,” in the Wall Street Journal, May 18. The former president reflects certain American misconceptions about the Middle East that are starting to blow up big-time in the region.
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He speaks critically about policymakers who "argue [that America] should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.”
Finally, what is quite amazing is how little backing the United States has given to moderate democratic oppositions to Islamist forces. That certainly has not happened in Lebanon, Turkey, or Iran, while in Egypt and Syria, U.S. policy has been friendlier to Islamists than to moderates.
And that's the saddest irony. When the Obama Administration, to quote Bush's phrase, gets "to choose what side we are on," it picks the wrong one. It argues, again, to quote Bush, that Ameica "should be content with supporting...flawed leaders...in the name of stability.” But these new Islamist dictators would deliver internal stability only at the price of freedom and will dismantle regional stability altogether. The alternative that provides some hope of stopping the Islamists, as both Iraq and Egypt show, is politicians who seem at best more like the old-style flawed leaders with whom America allied in past decades.