Thursday, March 03, 2005


Michael Ledeen has always taken the long view of things, tracing the events of 9/11 back to the mullah's takeover of Iran back in the 70's. Now, writing in National Review Online, he identifies a second sweeping trend that dates back to the same time, an "Age of the Second Democratic Revolution", that began with the death of Franco, swept through Portugal and Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union and now, after smoldering for 12 years under the indifference or hostility of the first President Bush and President Clinton, has burst out in Georgia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon. He urges us to seize the opportunity in Revolution:
Our most lethal weapon against the tyrants is freedom, and it is now spreading on the wings of democratic revolution. It would be tragic if we backed off now, when revolution is gathering momentum for a glorious victory. We must be unyielding in our demand that the peoples of the Middle East design their own polities, and elect their own leaders. The first step, as it has been in both Afghanistan and Iraq, is a national referendum to choose the form of government. In Iran, the people should be asked if they want an Islamic republic. In Syria, if they want a Baathist state. In Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Libya, if they want more of the same. We should not be deterred by the cynics who warn that freedom will make things worse, because the ignorant masses will opt for the fantasmagorical caliphate of the increasingly irrelevant Osama bin Laden. Mubarak and Qadaffi and Assad and Khamenei are arresting democrats, not Islamists, and the women of Saudi Arabia are not likely to demand to remain shrouded for the rest of their lives.

Faster, please. The self-proclaimed experts have been wrong for generations. This is a revolutionary moment. Go for it.