US Dials Back the Volume on 'Democracy' ; Bush's Public Pronouncements on Islamic Democratization Take on a Softer Tone, as His Recent Trip to Pakistan Showed

By Howard LaFranchi writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

US Dials Back the Volume on 'Democracy' ; Bush's Public Pronouncements on Islamic Democratization Take on a Softer Tone, as His Recent Trip to Pakistan Showed


Howard LaFranchi writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


President Bush has begun to soften his tone on the urgency of democratizing Muslim countries, lately choosing more cautious words that some experts say are a better match with his administration's modest political goals for countries ranging from Morocco to Pakistan.

The change so far is subtle. But the rise to power of Hamas, the radical Islamist group, through US-backed elections in the Palestinian territories and the difficulty of implanting democratic governance in Iraq are prompting Mr. Bush to soft-pedal his pronouncements.

The cautious approach is likely to continue at least until the administration sorts out how to respond to the new realities, experts say - leaving the Middle East peace process and other pressing regional matters hanging in the balance.

"A debate is raging within the administration. They are taking a second look at the entire process of exerting pressure on authoritarian rulers in the Middle East," says Fawaz Gerges, a foreign policy expert at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. "There is no certainty over what to do, but we are hearing a rhetoric that is less intensive and more nuanced than just a few weeks ago."

What some observers call the administration's "crusade for dramatic change" is being supplanted by more tempered language, seen in officials' references to long-term goals of democracy's bloom and in initiatives that promote reforms without upsetting stability in the Muslim world.

Moderation from Bush and Rice

The adjustment was evident last weekend in Pakistan, where Bush spoke merely of a "hope" for democracy. He also skirted pro- democracy opposition leaders that some reform advocates had encouraged him to meet.

It was also on display when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled recently to Egypt. There, she referred to certain "setbacks" to political openness in Egypt, but did not directly call President Hosni Mubarak's government on the carpet.

"Middle East rulers are delighted at the prospect of a less demanding stance from the American government," says Mr. Gerges, noting that Secretary Rice did not publicly upbraid the Egyptian government for putting off local elections for two years.

Some rulers in the Islamic world may be breathing sighs of relief, but experts say that what may be happening with US government circles is a dovetailing of rhetoric and action.

"The policy of the Bush administration concerning democracy- building always proceeded along two tracks, with rhetoric that was somewhat far-reaching accompanied by the second level of actual diplomatic contacts with Arab countries, which have been very cautious," says Marina Ottaway, a democratization expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Citing the Middle East Partnership Initiative - Bush's 2002 program that focuses on areas such as education, women's rights, entrepreneurship, and democracy-building - she notes that such initiatives will not "shake the boat in any country very much."

As for administration rhetoric, the most noticeable change is that concerning Iraq, says Ms.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

US Dials Back the Volume on 'Democracy' ; Bush's Public Pronouncements on Islamic Democratization Take on a Softer Tone, as His Recent Trip to Pakistan Showed
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.