Posted: 14 Jan 2012 10:12 PM PST
Back during the early days of the Tahrir Square protests I wrote, "59 percent of Egyptian Muslims want democracy and 95 percent want Islam to play a large part in politics. 84 percent believe apostates should face the death penalty. That is what Egyptian democracy will look like. A unanimous majority that wants an Islamic state and a bare majority that wants democracy. Which one do you think will win out? A democratic majority of the country supports murdering people in the name of Islam. Mubarak's government does not execute apostates or adulterers. But a democratic Egypt will. Why? Because it's the will of the people."
Here we are almost a year later and we have gotten the democratic Egypt that anyone who understood the realities of the region should have expected. An Egyptian parliament divided between the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a country divided between the Islamists who want to chop off heads now and the Islamists who think that it's wiser to consolidate their power before chopping off heads.
There are minor variations in this form of government. In Iran the oligarchy that runs the country and robs it blind is explicitly Islamic. In Egypt it's military. In Turkey it's a group of Islamist tycoons. In Afghanistan it's a bunch of warlords. The details don't matter that much, except that the Islamists use some of that money they steal to finance terrorism against us and they're usually more repressive than the secular or semi-secular alternative.
The Bush era idea that doing what is best for them will also be best for us is wrong on multiple levels. Our first duty is to do what is best for us, which is truer than ever because there is nothing really that we can do which is best for them. Only they can make those choices which will uplift them. And until they make those choices and are ready to join the community of civilized peoples, then our only task is to do what is best for our peoples and our nations.