The West's Next Mistake?

(New York Post) Amir Taheri - Some are suggesting that Western democracies should seek a strategic alliance with Islamist parties, even specifying an alliance with Shiites from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. This is bad, even perilous, advice. To be sure, the advent of pluralism has so far benefited the Shiites who had been denied a fair share of power solely because of their religious beliefs. This doesn't mean that the once-excluded should now be regarded as exclusive allies of the West. What other democracies should insist upon are level political and social playing fields, in which no one is excluded on grounds of faith and/or ethnic background. The idea of an alliance with Islamists against others has already been tested by the Shah in Iran, Anwar Sadat in Egypt, and the ruling dynasty in Saudi Arabia, with results that we all know. The dumbest thing for the U.S. to do would be to repeat that fatal error.

2005-05-17 00:00:00

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