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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 2, 2011 / 28 Shevat, 5771

Egypt and the ‘freedom agenda’

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | George W. Bush launched his second term as president with an inaugural address that put the spread of democratic freedoms at the heart of his international agenda. In one memorable passage, he promised "all who live in tyranny and hopelessness" that "the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

Within days, the administration was making it clear that this "Bush doctrine" would apply even to autocratic US allies like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. When Ayman Nour, a leading Egyptian democracy activist, was arrested on bogus charges and thrown in jail, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cancelled a planned trip to Egypt in protest. Her trip was rescheduled only after Nour was released, and upon landing in Cairo in June 2005, she delivered a ringing defense of democracy and the right of peaceful dissenters to be heard.

"Throughout the Middle East, the fear of free choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty," Rice said. "It is time to abandon the excuses that are made to avoid the hard work of democracy."

No one knows how the uprisings now shaking the Arab world from Tunisia to Yemen -- and above all in Egypt, where at least 200,000 protesters yesterday staged the largest demonstration yet against Mubarak's rule -- will end. But a number of Bush's supporters and former aides have been arguing that what is underway in the Arab street vindicates the "freedom agenda" at which so many skeptics had scoffed. "It turns out, as those demonstrators are telling us," writes Elliott Abrams, who was Bush's deputy national security adviser, "that supporting freedom is the best policy of all."

Supporting freedom is the best policy of all, so long as "freedom" is understood to be shorthand for democratic pluralism, the rule of law, property rights, the protection of minorities, and respect for human dignity. Is that what the multitudes in Cairo's Tahrir Square are seeking? No doubt many Egyptians genuinely yearn for liberal democracy. But in a society where 84 percent of the public supports the death penalty for those who leave Islam, and where the only organized, disciplined opposition is the anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood, it seems safe to assume that many more do not. When Mubarak leaves office -- he promised yesterday not to run for another term -- will an orderly conversion to democracy and civil rights follow? Or will the "Lotus Revolution" be hijacked by illiberal, anti-Western radicals no more interested in popular freedom than Mubarak was?

If US foreign policy in recent years had consistently reflected Bush's "freedom agenda" -- if prodding the Arab world toward a democratic renaissance had become an unmistakable American priority in recent years -- perhaps Egypt would already have made the transition to a moderate, humane, post-Mubarak government. We'll never know. The freedom agenda didn't survive.

Clearly the promotion of freedom and human rights has not been a key objective of the current US administration. When the Iranian government crushed democratic protests in 2009, President Obama refused to get involved, unwilling to "be seen as meddling" in Iranian affairs. He slashed federal funding for programs promoting Egyptian democracy and civil society. In his State of the Union address last week he said nothing about the convulsions that were already underway in Egypt and nothing about Hezbollah's alarming power grab in Lebanon. As for the unprecedented revolution in Tunisia, he gave it a throwaway line near the end of his speech.

Yet it wasn't under Obama that the Bush doctrine was deep-sixed. It was under Bush.

There was no sequel to Secretary Rice's dramatic 2005 exhortation in Cairo. When Mubarak a few months later claimed victory in an "election" so grotesquely rigged that most Egyptians boycotted the polls, US Ambassador Frank Ricciardone publicly fawned over him, going on Egyptian TV to offer "the congratulations of the United States ... for this great accomplishment." Ayman Nour was thrown back in prison, but Rice fought a congressional effort to reduce the nearly $2 billion in aid Egypt annually receives from Washington.

What was true of Egypt was true elsewhere. From Moammar Ghadafy's Libya to Vladimir Putin's Russia, from Saudi Arabia to North Korea, the Bush administration's commitment to liberty and democratic reform all too often receded into little more than lip service -- quotable, perhaps, but ineffective.

Yes, supporting freedom is the best policy. Not just because freedom is better than stability. Not just because tyranny breeds extremism. But because it is unworthy of a nation as great and free as ours not to promote the values it most esteems. It shouldn't take an upheaval in the Arab street to remind us that it is always in America's interest to promote liberal democracy.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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