Democracy is the Bottom Line in the Middle East

(Telegraph-UK) Editorial - The centerpiece of the G8 summit that ended Thursday was George W. Bush's plan for political and economic reform in the Middle East. Outlined in his State of the Union address in January, it began life as the Greater Middle East Initiative, but had metamorphosed by the summit into the Partnership for Progress and a Common Future with the Region of the Broader Middle East and North Africa. The statement by the leaders of the rich industrialized countries on Wednesday acknowledged that successful reform should not and could not be imposed from outside, and that support for it should go hand in hand with the search for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute. The grandiose vision of a Middle East transformed by the democratic example of Iraq has faded. Nevertheless, Mr. Bush is right to maintain his push for political and economic liberalization in a region stagnating under autocracy and state control. Iraq will obviously be the key test of the President's vision for the Middle East. But current difficulties there do not invalidate his belief that peoples of the region should have the chance democratically to determine their own future.

2004-06-11 00:00:00

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