Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Case for Democracy

I caught After Words on C-Span2, with Natan Sharansky, co-author of The Case for Democracy. Interviewing Sharansky was Tom Gjelten, National Security Correspondent for NPR. And of course, he had to ask an offensive question, something along the lines of, "Why does Israel build permanent walls if they want peace?" Sharansky took it in stride and explained how it was for safety. He went on further to say it's what has to be done until you get rid of terror. I loved when he turned it around and said how since 9/11, it's not easy to travel in the US either -- he has to take his shoes off all the time. Loved that! Some more choice thoughts/moments from his interview (not exact words, just general gist of things) is in the comments.

10 Comments:

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Natan Sharansky-isms:

The power of the desire to be free is natural for all people, no matter where they live. Dictators need external enemies to keep their people in line.

There are no shortcuts to peace; no way around building freedom first. Oslo is a perfect example. They believed that the PA needed a strong man to fight terrorists, and that's how stability will be brought -- but Israel paid the price for this shortcut. Need to strengthen the process, need to speak to the dissidents directly (like Reagan with the Berlin wall and Bush to Iran's population).

He wrote an article criticizing Oslo three weeks after the signing. He wasn't against concessions per se but rather he felt that if they strengthen a dictator, so he can stop terrorists, they will pay.

After hearing Bush's speech in June 2002 (about not dealing with Arafat anymore), he felt deja vu with Reagan's speech ("tear down this wall"), which gave him hope when he was in prison -- to hear a leader of the free world supporting peace through building democratic institutions. He felt bad that so many people didn't support Bush's stance.

On the current peace process: He appreciates the summit but must see democratic changes, reforms because they are the only thing that can bring us to peace. He is encouraged by Bush, but he is cautiously optimistic about Abu Mazen.

He brought up a great point -- Germany in the 1930s. Hitler won the election. No one stepped in and that's fine. But when a year later Hitler said that was the last election -- there will be no more, countries around the world, rather than intervening, said it's up to the Germans to decide what kind of government they want. But the German people didn't have a voice any more! Democracy was destroyed. And everyone appeased Hitler instead of stepping in to help. Sometimes the free world has to fight. It had to fight Hitler. It had to fight Saddam Hussain. These wars had to happen after years of appeasement. When appeasement continues for so long, it then becomes dangerous to everyone.

 
At 2:23 AM, Blogger patrickafir said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:24 AM, Blogger patrickafir said...

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At 2:26 AM, Blogger patrickafir said...

Excellent book (if a bit too optimistic, in my view, about the prospects of democracy in the Arab/Islamic world) by a true visionary and a great and good man.

I saw Mr. Sharansky on Meet the Press last night with Pat Buchanan, who was, of course, a complete ass. He ended up turning the whole discourse into an anti-Israel screed saying that Israel is the cause of the terror that plagues them and us, talking over Mr. Sharansky and everything. I can't stand that guy.

 
At 2:28 AM, Blogger patrickafir said...

LOL I've made a mess of the comments section. Would you delete all my comments except for the one right above this one, Esther? Thanks!

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger Esther said...

LOL on the multiple posts, patrick. I see blogger is not playing nice again.

I agree with you -- Pat Buchanan is an anti-Israel ass. Can't stand him.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

It seems like NPR is full of mental midgets. It is amazing that they can't relate to what Israel is going through a little bit. I will never understand the obssession with fence that is designed to keep out murderers. As if it is wrong to put up a fence at all. Do the Palestinians have a right to enter Israel anymore than they have a right to enter Jordon, Syria or Egypt?

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

Wow, I'll have to check it out on c-span later.

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger Gindy said...

Esther, I just thought you might be interested to know that they pulled the Jewsih extremist article. That must have thought better of it.

 
At 1:31 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Mazel Tov, Gindy! This is fantastic news. Thanks for letting me know.

 

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