February 09, 2004

A Multilateral Middle East Democratization Initiative

Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler have an article up in the Washington Post about an ambitious Bush administration democracy-building initiative in the Middle East.

Needless to say, you won't hear about this if you are relying on Maureen Dowd or Paul Krugman to keep you apprised of Bush foreign policy going-ons (since this can't be portrayed, even by them, as any of a 1) militaristic, 2) unilateral or 3) preemptive action undertaken by hapless-marionette-Georgie-controlled-by-Hobbesian-Cheney they, you know, just won't write about it...).

"The Bush administration has launched an ambitious bid to promote democracy in the "greater Middle East" that will adapt a model used to press for freedoms in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Senior White House and State Department officials have begun talks with key European allies about a master plan to be put forward this summer at summits of the Group of Eight nations, NATO allies and the European Union, U.S. officials say. With international backing, the United States then hopes to win commitments of action from Middle Eastern and South Asian countries.

"It's a sweeping change in the way we approach the Middle East," said a senior State Department official. "We hope to roll out some of the principles for reform in talks with the Europeans over the next few weeks, with specific ideas of how to support them."

...As incentives for the targeted countries to cooperate, Western nations would offer to expand political engagement, increase aid, facilitate membership in the World Trade Organization and foster security arrangements, possibly some equivalent of the Partnership for Peace with former Eastern Bloc countries."

We talked about the need for such an initiative earlier at B.D. here and here.

And we will be keeping an eye on this story going forward to make sure there is real follow through by Bush on this.

Oh, by the way, what's Kerry's take on all this?

Or will "internationalization" (whatever that means) of the Iraq effort prove a panacea that rights all the region's ills?

Posted by Gregory at February 9, 2004 12:41 PM
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