The article Can Democracy Stop Terrorism? reiterates with a question of democracy is a solution to end terrorism against the United States of America (Gause, 2005). The Bush administration contends that the push for democracy in the Muslim world will improve U.S. security. But this premise is faulty: there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. Indeed, a democratic Middle East would probably result in Islamist governments unwilling to cooperate with Washington.
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Gause (2005) argues that there is no such connection between terrorism and the nation’s regime type. The question that the article posse is that whether democratization of the Arab world would ensure that there is less terrorism, would improve the Arab-America relation, and would help the US to achieve better access to the Middle-East’s oil reserve. The author stresses that a quick imposition of democracy in the Middle East is not the solution, but the gradual development of a secular nationalist and liberal government is the key to the demolition of terrorism.
The article stresses that even though there exists a popular belief that there democracy and terrorism have a negative relationship as stressed by popular mass media and politicians, but academic validity of the point is scant (Gause, 2005). The author cites the examples of India and China which are the world’s largest democracies and states that terrorism is not a scant incident in this part of the world. Hence it can be concluded that there exists no solid empirical evidence for a strong link between democracy, or any other regime type, and terrorism, in either a positive or a negative direction (Gause, 2005). Hence the Bush administration’s contention that democracy will give birth to fewer terrorists is grossly flawed (Gause, 2005).
The elections held in Iraq in 2005 registered an almost more than fifty percent turnout of voters, irrespective of the threats of violence and the boycott by most Sunni Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population (Gause, 2005). Even if some instances of elections had shown a low turnout, it cannot be used to generalize the Arab voting tendencies. Arguments that Arab “culture” bars democracy simply do not stand up to scrutiny.
The primary issue that the author brings out, in this case, is that the belief that Arabs do not like democracy is wrong. The problem is with Washington as the outcomes Arab democracy would not appease the US government. Assuming that democratic Arab governments would better represent the opinions of their people than do the current Arab regimes, the democratization of the Arab world should produce more anti-U.S. foreign policies.
The root cause of the terrorism and resistance against the US in the Arab world is a very strong anti-US sentiment embedded in the nation. Arab publics were particularly cynical about Washington’s policy of democracy promotion in the Middle East (Gause, 2005). Even if democratization could reduce anti-Americanism, there is no guarantee that such a reduction would yield pro-American governments. Such a situation is evident not only in Iraq but also in Palestine, Lebanon, and all other Arab worlds.
The author thus concludes that “The Bush administration’s push for democracy in the Arab world is unlikely to have much effect on anti-American terrorism emanating from there” (Gause, 2005, p. 5). The author suggests that the Bush Administration must focus on pushing Arab governments to make political space for liberal, secular, leftist, nationalist, and other non-Islamist parties to set down roots and mobilize voters. Washington should support those groups that are more likely to accept U.S. foreign policy and emulate U.S. political values.
The issues that arise are the Bush administration’s policy regarding Iraq has brought an increasing concern for the policymakers. The US foreign policy which interferes with other nation’s political systems has disturbed the balance of many parts of the globe. The US undertaking military mission in Iraq is an example of the US policy to capture and democratize nations in the Arab world. Washington’s hubris should have been crushed in Iraq, where even the presence of 140,000 American troops has not allowed politics to proceed according to the U.S. plan (Gause, 2005).
Yet the Bush administration displays little of the humility or the patience that such a daunting task demands. If the United States does see the democracy-promotion initiative in the Arab world as a “generational challenge,” the entire nation will have to learn these traits.