We read and hear so much about the anti-war sentiment. thought I'd post this from one young person's viewpoint. It's a bit different from what we are hearing
February 12, 2003
Muslim democracy: a real possibility?
The demonstrators marched on. As they approached, I realized that they were protesting the Islamic regime in Iran. I have to admit that until I saw those Iranians chanting for democracy, I doubted the oft-expressed sentiment that Iran was a country ripe for democratic rule. But the sight of Iranians seeking freedom convinced me that President Bush's mission to bring democracy to the Middle East could be successful.
If Western Europe has its way, this will never happen. France, Germany and their other accommodation-minded cohorts are in the palms of Middle Eastern Islamic dictatorships. For these countries that never experienced the tyranny of Communist rule during the Cold War, the idea of evil is anathema. Middle Eastern terrorist regimes aren't evil, they think; they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. The "Axis of Weasel," as the conservative press has taken to calling the Western European appeasers, has maintained ties with Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority, among others.
All European scorn is reserved for Middle Eastern democracies, because the only democracies in the Middle East have close ties to the United States. European jealousy of American power and hatred of America's un-chic "cowboy diplomacy" means that anyone even remotely allied with the United States becomes an enemy. Israel is enemy No. 1, of course, because latent anti-Semitism combines with anti-Americanism. But the most obvious current example is Turkey.
Turkey is a country that the Iranian protesters wish to emulate. Separation between church and state is rigidly enforced, for fear of Islamist infiltration. Turkey is friendly with the United States and is the only Muslim country openly friendly to Israel. Its economy is geared toward westernization, and its military cooperates closely with Israel and the United States. Turkey is a member of NATO and aspires to be a member of the European Union. Turkish bases will be used in any U.S.-led war with Iraq.
As a member of NATO, Turkey (with U.S. backing) wants NATO to place Patriot air defense missiles and early warning aircraft in Turkey to protect against any attack by Iraq in the event of a war. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul correctly claims that Turkey was a Cold War battleground in protecting Western Europe, and now, Western Europe should reciprocate. But the Thrombotic Three -- France, Germany and Belgium -- are utilizing the only power they have, their NATO veto power, to prevent any protection of Turkey. By doing so, they risk creating a fatal split in the very fabric of NATO. They hope that other countries will back their pacifism and refuse aid to Turkey. This kind of highhandedness is aimed at alienating the Middle East's only predominantly Muslim democracy from America, turning it into the kind of Islamist loose cannon with which the Europeans love to deal.
The EU also shuns Turkey, despite Turkey's eminent qualifications for entry. This is hardly surprising, since the EU has long spurned countries it perceives as "U.S. puppets." In 1963, French Prime Minister Charles De Gaulle blocked Britain's ascension to the European Economic Community (which would later become the EU) because the United Kingdom was closely allied with the United States. The same feeling applies to Eastern European EU applicants aligned with the United States.
This Western European scorn for U.S. allies should prompt America to turn away from countries like France and Germany. A new American-led alliance -- composed of formerly Communist Eastern European countries, and principled democracies like the UK, Italy, Israel, India and Turkey -- is the last, best hope for a network of Middle Eastern democracies. Millions like the Iranian demonstrators hope and pray for democracy and freedom in the Middle East. America must not abandon them.
©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.