Terry Jeffrey

In East Asia, too, Hyde said, "stable democratic" governments were rare where the U.S. did not have an extended presence.

Hyde argued that those who thought democracy could be grafted onto any nation on earth did not understand how deep the roots of representative government must run in a culture.

"But democracy is more than a single election, or even a succession of them," he said. "It is a way of life for a nation, embracing its life and institutions, and all of their complexity, and embraced in turn by its people and their actions, thoughts and beliefs.

"Viewed in its more compete historical context," Hyde said, "implanting democracy in large areas would require that we possess an unbounded power and undertake an open-ended commitment of time and resources, which we cannot and will not do."

In his second inaugural address, Bush had argued that his policy of promoting democracy was rooted in America's religious understanding of the nature of man.

"America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one," Bush said. "From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights and dignity and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of heaven and earth."

This principle -- articulated in our Declaration of Independence and based on an understanding of God and man that traces back to both classical philosophy and the Bible -- is undoubtedly true. But the dominant cultural forces in the very lands Bush tried to fashion into democracies deny it.

Four years after Hyde rebutted the Golden Theory, the last Christian church was razed in Condoleezza Rice's Afghan democracy. The State Department last month published a report on religious freedom there that said "two men were in detention for conversion to Christianity."

In Iraq, according to State, the Christian population has been cut at least in half since 2003 -- and is now no more than 600,000. Christians are fleeing a country where the government has failed to protect them from sectarian acts of persecution and murder.

The State Department also reports that in Iraq's democracy it is a crime "subject to punishment by death" to express "moral support" for "Zionist organizations."

Last month, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Ra'i of Lebanon warned that Syria might be headed for sectarian war. "This, then, is a genocide and not democracy and reform," he said.

In Cairo two weeks ago, the Egyptian military killed about two dozen unarmed Coptic Christians participating in a demonstration to protest the destruction of a Christian church.

"We must also be cognizant of the fact that a broad and energetic promotion of democracy may produce not peace and stability, but revolution," Hyde said back in 2006.

"History teaches that revolutions are very dangerous things, more often destructive than benign and uncontrollable by their very nature," he said. "Upending established order based on theory is far more likely to produce chaos than shining uplands."

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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