So far our experiment

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March 1, 2003 4:05 p.m.

So far our experiment with Middle Eastern democracy-building isn’t going so well. We’ve just sold out an incipient democracy in Iraqi Kurdistan. And now we can’t get an existing democracy in Turkey to go along with our war plans (“Turkey rejects U.S. troop plan“).

Meanwhile, we’ve got some very good news in the war on terrorism, the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This isn’t just some capo in the organization. He’s about as high up the food-chain as you can get without being bin Laden himself.

This is great news. And I’ve got no problem with how we pulled it off. But in the democracy-building context, we should bear in mind that we accomplished this by continuing our long-standing policy of using autocratic governments in the Muslim and Arab worlds to do our bidding notwithstanding public opposition.

All of which is to say that exporting democracy and getting everyone to agree with you at the same time is a rather difficult proposition.

And this is the easy part.

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