Monday, October 09, 2006

Book Review: The Case for Democracy

From time to time I will post a message about a book I am reading or have read. I felt I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t start with a book I read earlier this year. I believe anyone who is even the slightest bit interested in foreign policy, the war in Iraq, or a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine should read The Case for Democracy : The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror by Natan Sharansky and Ron Dermer. I read it and thought it was simply an incredible book. Mr. Sharansky was a political prisoner in the Soviet Union during the 1980’s and, after being released, emigrated to Israel and spent nine years as a politician in a political party he helped to found.

Mr. Sharansky argues that it is in the best interest of the United States to promote democracy wherever it can. Many today claim that democracy can’t work in the Middle East. Some go so far as to state that Muslims don’t want democracy; that it is incompatible with Islam. Mr. Sharansky notes that critics used these same arguments in the ’40’s against democracy in Germany or Japan, and again in the ‘80’s against a democratic Russia. No one wants to live in fear.

Democracies don’t go to war with each other. Mr. Sharansky points out that at no time in history have any true democracies gone to war with each other. The constituents of a democracy only allow war as a last resort, and because of that, they don’t go to war with other democracies.

Regardless of how you feel about the current administrations decisions in Iraq, Afghanistan, or in the Middle East, reading The Case for Democracy will definitely give anyone insight into some of the reasons why those decisions have been made.

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