PRESIDENT Bush's strong bid to implant 'democracy' from above in the Arab World is not progressing in a manner that would cheer the White House and the State Department. President Bush's public standing has dropped to 36 per cent, the lowest of his presidency. He has been passing through a very lean patch, meeting reverses on both domestic issues as well as in the international plane.
His recent trip to Latin American countries to work out a trade agreement ended disastrously. He left Washington Monday for a trip to China, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. The brief period of uninterrupted world supremacy of the United States in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and East European countries is gradually coming to an end. If France and Germany had been an impediment for the USA to winning the UN security council approval for invading Iraq on the false assumptions that Baghdad had stockpiled WMD and Saddam had links with Al-Qaeda, Washington's threat to both Syria and Iran has fallen into deaf ears largely due to tacit support given to them by China. President Bush comforts himself with the thought that the United States has been able to a make gift of democracy to Iraq.
Iraq has a constitution and a national assembly now, President Bush often boastfully proclaims. He is, however, oblivious of the grim facts that Iraq has been reduced to rubbles and rebuilding it will take years. The split among three ethnic groups -- Shias, Sunnis and Kurds -- has reached irreversible position. Peace and normalcy are not likely to return to Iraq -- which could once boast for having the best, oldest and richest civilisation -- in the foreseeable future.
The threats to Iran and Syria will be thwarted by China. The United States should make no mistake about recognising China as a political and economic global power, New York Times (NYT) recommended. The NYT has recognised China as a global giant.
Instead of pushing democracy in Arab World, the US has now proposed floating of a fund that would promote democracy in the Middle East. It is creating $50 million 'democracy foundation' to support political activities in the Middle East. There will be another $100 million fund to provide venture capital to businesses.
The ruling cliques in the Arab countries are reluctant to usher in
unalloyed democracy. They can, at best, agree to limited democracy to allow unhindered polls for municipalities and government-approved candidates in presidential election as was demonstrated in Egypt. The candidate who opposed Hosni Mubarrak in the last election was hauled up by police on trumped-up charges.
Hosni Mubarrak has been the president of Egypt for past 24 years. He is like a monarch. The Middle East rulers, in order to perpetuate their power, have opposed providing funds to people, playing on the US fear, that it may end up in the hands of the terrorists. The Secret Police is the most powerful government agency throughout the Arab world. Heavy hand of the secret police is impeding reforms in Arab world. They are above law. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed the creation of the foundation that would promote democracy in the Arab World.
The money will be given to civil societies, strengthen rule of law, protect basic civil rights and ensure greater opportunity for education and health care. But there is growing irritation in the Arab world about the US lecturing them on democracy. The Arab World does not accept the US argument about Iraq being the beacon for democracy. Egypt said, 'if a concept is imposed, nobody will give it any consideration'. Iraq represents the perils of imposing democracy from the outside, the Arab leaders said at the just-concluded meeting that was also attended by the US secretary of state. Democracy, as the Arab Leaders noted, must come from within and it cannot be imposed from outside.