The Islamist Ascendancy
Washington Post / Charles Krauthammer
13-Jul-2012 (one comment)


But what kind of political Islam? On that depends the future. The moderate Turkish version or the radical Iranian one?

To be sure, Recep Erdogan’s Turkey is no paragon. The increasingly authoritarian Erdogan has broken the military, neutered the judiciary and persecuted the press. There are morejournalists in prison in Turkey than in China. Nonetheless, for now, Turkey remains relatively pro-Western (though unreliably so) and relatively democratic (compared to its Islamic neighborhood).

For now, the new Islamist ascendancy in Arab lands has taken on the more benign Turkish aspect. Inherently so in Morocco and Tunisia; by external constraint in Egypt, where the military sees itself as guardian of the secular state, precisely as did Turkey’s military in the 80 years from Ataturk to Erdogan.

Genuinely democratic rule may yet come to Arab lands. Radical Islam is the answer to nothing, as demonstrated by the repression, social backwardness and civil strife of Taliban Afghanistan, Islamist Sudan and clerical Iran.

As for moderate Islamism, if it eventually radicalizes, it too will fail and bring on yet another future Arab Spring where democracy might actually be the answer (as it likely would have been in Iran, had the mullahs not savagely crushed the  >>>


A good thing for Iranians or not?

by FG on

I don't always agree with columnest Charles Krauthamer, especially on US domestic issues or in his too strong support of Israel and its abuses (ethnic cleansing of Arabs).  He is superior to the nut cases who currently dominate the Republican Party.

I understand why most Iranians hate Islamist rule after 33 years suffering something worse than the ebola virus.  Nevertheless the trend started by Erdogan could be a good thing provided early abuses (nowhere near as bad as Iran) are curbed in Turkey and provided the Turkish model for Islamist parties replaces the once popular, self-discrediting Al Queda and IRI models.  

Along with IRI's failed example (nakedly visible for all to see) Erdogan has created an obstacle to the spread or radical Islam that works in the same way the spread of democratic socialism created an obstacle to the spread of communism.  The latter considered democratic socialism as its most dangerous enemy.   

Wherever Al Queda or Iranian models have been put into practice it has proven a disaster.  I'll never forget the remark of one Iraqi Kurd after being liberated from Ansar Al-Islam's rule in northern Iraq ("It was like escaping from hell").  I'm certain most Iranians would say much the same on the day the IRI falls.

Whether muslims have secular rule or Islamist rule, they can expect crummy governments unless the latter remain fully subject to the checks of real democracy--meaning free and open elections, free press and speech, the right to demonstrate peacefully, full human rights for all citizens regardless of gender or religion, an independent judiary and checks and balances.   What you don't need is Amir's uncontrolled "secular monachy" which amouts to Samoza, Mubarek or Saddam Hussein with a crown, retaining most other tyranical features of the IRI, including the exploitation of xenophobia to divert the people from domestic sleight-of-hand tyranny.

Where did Al Queda types and certain reactionary cleics around Khamenei (Mesbah Yazdi has a huge hand in policy) get the idea that "democracy is undemocratic."  Show me where the Koran says so.

If you would rather not encourage people to form parties along tribal or sectarian lines in a region which can thereby aggravate old rivalries or breakaway regional movements, then you ay prefer a plurality electoral system rather than a proportional representation syste when it comes to elections.  See: