Cliff May

In his remarks following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last week, President Obama echoed the pro-democracy protestors in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. When he said, “something in our souls … cries out for freedom,” he sounded a lot like George W. Bush. The Wall Street Journal quipped: "We are all neocons now."

Well, maybe not all. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is snuffing out the Cedar Revolution – a body blow to American and European strategic interests, not to mention what this means for the people of Lebanon.

Gazans went to the polls five years ago, when President Bush was vigorously promoting his Freedom Agenda. But elections in an un-free environment produced only a parody of democracy: one man, one vote, one time. The leaders of Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and a terrorist militia pretending also to be a political party, were happy to have voters hand them power. They do not plan to let voters to take that power away again anytime soon.

Turkey’s 80-year-old experiment with secularism appears to be over. Statues of Kemal Atatürk, modern Turkey’s founding father, still stand but the AKP, an Islamist party that has held power since 2003, is strangling Kemalism and the Turkish military no longer has the strength to break its grip. In recent days, more than 150 serving and retired military officers have been arrested. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that the Turkish army will start training the army of Syria, a client of Iran. Yet Turkey remains a member of NATO.

Iran’s rulers believe – not without justification – that they are spearheading a global revolution against the Great Satan, the Little Satan and all the Satans in between. They believe nuclear weapons will assist this effort – also not without justification. They treat domestic dissidents more brutally than Mubarak ever dreamed. Nevertheless, this week tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets chanting "Death to the dictator!” Members of the Iranian Parliament called for the two most prominent opposition leaders to be sentenced to death for stirring unrest. The regime prohibited coverage by major media. Submissively, major media gave the demonstrations short shrift. Obama, on this occasion, offered a few words of praise for the protestors’ “courage.”

In Pakistan, portraits of the nation’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, hang in thousands of offices and classrooms. But those who remain committed to his vision of a homeland for Muslims that also is free and tolerant toward non-Muslims are an increasingly endangered species.

And in Arabia, the long-ruling al-Saud family fights terrorism with one hand and funds it with the other.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.