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We're going to focus tonight on the Middle East and in the Middle East we've got sort of three sets of policy interests. The first relates to security, to counterterrorism, to nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to the safety and security of our allies. The second set will relate to economics, to resources, to access to resources, access to markets, and even economic development in the region, and the third set of issues, which will be the focus of our conversation tonight, are political concerns, questions of democracy promotion, human rights, and other political concerns that we have in the region, and so what we're going to talk about tonight is the role of democracy promotion where it fits in the hierarchy of values, and how one can pursue it. Joining us are going to be two of the authors, two members of a task force put together by the Council on Foreign Relations that looked at the question of how to promote, whether and how to promote democracy in the Middle East, and particularly in the Arab world. Joining us is Stephen Cook; he's the Douglas-Dillon Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was director of the Task Force on Promoting Democracy in the Middle East. He's an expert on Arab and Turkish politics, as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy. He has published numerous papers in many journals including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and the New Republic. And please don't forget the Journal of Democracy. And the Journal of Democracy at Stanford. Now, he is joined by Larry Diamond, who just put in a plug. He is a member of the Task Force, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, and clearly the marketing director as well. He's also co-director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies, a national endowment for democracy. During the first three months of 2004, Doctor Diamond served as a senior advisor on governments to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, and I know many of you have heard him speak about that experience, and on prospects for stability in Iraq. He's lectured and written often about the challenges in post-conflict state building in Iraq. So I am going to begin by just asking our two guests a few questions, and then taking your question cards. I'm going to start by asking if the United States were a business, or were an NGO, would it be written in our mission statement that the promotion of democracy is one of our central goals? I guess since I was the project director I'll answer the question first. First, I just want to say how wonderful it is to be here this evening with the World Affairs Council, and I think I come to San Francisco once a year, and every time I'm out here I say, why doesn't the Council on Foreign Affairs have an office here? But I guess we'd be a competitor to the World Affairs Council and it wouldn't be, we wouldn't want to impinge on your turf, but it is wonderful to be here, I love the Bay Area, and I'm glad I'm here with you this evening. I think that it should be a central mission of the United States not necessarily to impose democracy, but to support democratic elements in the Arab world, in the way in which the United States supports democratic elements in other parts of the world, most notably Eastern Europe. We don't have a great record, obviously, in Latin America and Africa and other places, but I do think it's important for someone like myself who's spent a lot of time living in the region, it was always extraordinary for me to hear Arabs say how much they respected the United States, respected the institutions of the United States, the way in which Americans live. But what caused outrage for them was the gap between our principles and our actual behavior in the world. And they always wanted to know why there was this exceptionalism for the Arab world. Why were we supporting dictatorships and authoritarianism in the region? And it's a very good question. Obviously for sixty years the United States felt that it's constellation of core interests in the region, the free flow of oil out of the region, it's rough security, during the Cold War, containing and ultimately rolling back the Soviet threat, and facing down rogue regimes, and now counterterrorism, were based on authoritarian stability. Those people, the Mubharrats(sp?), the house of Saud, the Gulf Sheikhdoms, they delivered the goods for the United States. After September 11th, that calculation changed, and in short, I don't want to take up too much time because I know Larry wants to get in on this as well. In short, the determination was made by this administration that domestic developments in Arab countries directly affected the security of the United States, and as a result, the United States should support and promote democracy in the Arab world. By that, do you mean that you see this as central, or that there is a growing consensus that it is central to the war on terror, central to counterterrorism efforts to have democracy flowing in the region? I think actually in the first couple of years after September 11th, 2002, these ideas were percolating, then in 2003, in late 2003, the President gave a speech at the 28th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy in which he kind of laid out what he said specifically was, "The United States will have a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East." And I think that clearly there was a consensus, a bipartisan consensus in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. If you notice that Senator Kerry had actually very little to say about this issue during the campaign, but I think that as the United States has run into problems in Iraq, as people have come to power in the Middle East, that the United States doesn't necessarily like, like Hamas in Palestine, or the extraordinary gains of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, people have begun to re-think this strategy, and think that perhaps authoritarian stability wasn't so bad after all. Larry, you want to hop in? I'd like to say a couple of things. First of all, if we were a corporation, and if you looked at the way we've been piling up debt for the last few years as a result of this profound misadventure in Iraq and the unwillingness of this administration to pay for it, we'd be headed for Chapter 11. But that's an aside. I do give the President credit, frankly, moral credit as well as political credit for what I think is not only a sincere, but deeply felt reorientation of American foreign policy, more vigorously around the goal of promoting democracy in the world. I think this is something that is very much wrapped up with his moral vision of America's purpose in the world, of his own religious faith for better or for worse, and it's a goal to which I think he is, and other top figures in this administration, very deeply committed, at least as a mission statement. The problem is that as Stephen alluded to, there are grave doubts in the region about the sincerity of our commitment. Of course, historically, there's been very little in this regard, and now, I think if you look at the last few years, it's not just Iraq. It is people in the region taking a look at what has really happened in Egypt. Okay, there was, we're going to talk more about this I know, there was a competitive Presidential election, for the first time there was opposition, now the opposition candidate is headed for a long stint in jail on trumped-up charges, There has been normalization of diplomatic relations with Libya, but what in terms of regime change has really happened? There has been movement in the Palestinian Authority, very significant, but if you look at the, most of the regimes in the Arab world, there's really been very little change in the nature of the regime, and I would argue that as a result of the disaster that Iraq has become in terms of security and in terms of the growth of Islamic fundamentalist sentiment, that there's been a kind of unease, to say the least, perhaps even panic, gripping some of the regimes in the region which has kind of undermined the administration's quest for democratic change. So I think the mission statement is there, and I think it's sincere, but it's deeply troubled, and I think deeply suspected in the region. Say something about the way you define in the Task Force and the way the administration defines democracy. Is it about elections, or is it about building the habits, the institutions, the processes of self-governments. Is this something that involves a long timeline, or is this something that involves an event that happens every four years? The straw man of all straw men is the statement that elections don't make democracy. And I don't know anyone who's ever seriously said that, particularly in this debate, so it's clearly not just about elections, and in fact when you think about it, elections have happened regularly throughout the Arab world, they just haven't been free and fair, so the task force avoided making identifying democracy with elections, but obviously it's one of the things that goes into it. What we talked about really was building the institutions of democracy, politics, of parliaments that actually can engage in over say, the rule of law, and that's why what's happening in Egypt in the last couple of weeks is so distressing. The Mubharrat government is moving against the judiciary, the large majority of Egyptian judges who want to supervise elections in Egypt to certify them as free and fair, and two judges who have indicated that they didn't believe the last legislative elections which happened in November and December of 2005 were fair, and by any measure, they were not fair. Those two were brought before an administrative court. One of them was censured, the other was actually declared innocent, but it has created an environment that pits the regime against the judiciary, and the judiciary is one, an independent judiciary is one of the most important institutions of a functioning democracy. So the task force came to the conclusion that this is a long-term process of the United States helping create an environment more conducive to the development of democratic institutions. This is not something that's going to happen within George Bush's two terms in office, or the next two terms in office, whoever the Presidents... what we say very clearly at the end of the report some of you have is that this requires a long term, bipartisan effort on the principles of bringing the question of support for democratization, more open politics in the region, higher on the U.S. agenda in the region. Are we particularly good at long-term sustained bipartisan processes? You've just answered your question by asking it, but I'll come to that in a minute. Let me first add a couple of thoughts to what Stephen has said about democracy. I think it's useful to think about democracy as having both electoral and nonelectoral pillars. On the electoral side, it's not enough to have electoral competition, as Stephen has emphasized. There has to be multi-party electoral competition, and it's not enough to have political opposition, even party opposition contesting. There have to be free and fair elections. Now, one of the revolutions in these recent Egyptian elections, which didn't go nearly far enough, but it's a wedge in the door, is that Egyptian civil society started to monitor these elections, and very brave civil society leaders like our friend Saud-idin-Ibrahim (sp?) at the Ib and Caldoun institute and others organized large numbers of Egyptian young people, and other civil society activists to go out and begin to monitor these elections, not just rely on international observers. In some cases they were threatened, they were harassed, but a precedent was introduced. The elections were not nearly free and fair, that's what the judges were protesting, but it's a wedge in the door. In the Palestinian Authority, the irony is given the result that it produced, that you probably had the freest and fairest elections that you've had anywhere in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon, and there is a certain diffusion effect, or demonstration or model effect that happens as a result of this. The other dimension is the non-electoral dimension. Stephen mentioned the judiciary, which is fundamental to having a viable, meaningful democracy, not simply that you have competition and elections, but to have the freedom to oppose, the freedom to organize, the freedom to speak, the freedom to challenge and lobby for policy preferences in between elections. For that, you need an independent judiciary, you need a rule of law, you needed freedom of the press, you need space for civil society, and all this has been historically under severe pressure in the Arab world. I just want to say parenthetically, I'll tell you who equated elections of any sort with democracy, it was the father, George Herbert Walker Bush who, as Vice President in the early 1980s went to the Philippines and said to Ferdinand Marcos, "We love your wonderful democracy." In terms of consistency, Jane, we're very bad at it. And this is why I react with concern, worry, unease, and even a certain degree of short temperedness, frankly, with friends and colleagues on the political left of center who want to trash anything that comes out of the Bush administration because they don't like the President and the party that he represents. I think that we're all Americans, we have one President at a time, we face a common set of national security challenges, and there was a tradition that got us pretty far during a long period of Cold War struggle, against a very palpable Communist threat, of rallying around a common set of goals and principles and setting aside party loyalty, at least to some extent. And I think it would be a healthy thing, given the degree to which the challenge that we face in promoting responsible governments in the Middle East, which is so vital to securing our national interest in the Middle East, given the long-term nature of that threat as spelled out, I think, quite convincingly in the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Report. Given that it's going to span across Republican and Democratic administrations, and the people from the Democratic side who are trashing the Bush administration now and anything it does in the region had better remind themselves that at some point there's going to be a Democratic president who's going to need cooperation from the other aisle in pursuing these same goals. Now, among those Cold War goals, and principles, was not the consistent promotion of democracy. We had a realist policy that was grounded in; you form the alliances you needed to form on a tactical basis in order to get the job done. This is more of an idealist agenda, is it not? It is, and it isn't, but let me just say that first of all, during the Cold War, absolutely right, but we did promote democracy in Eastern Europe, because our interest clearly dictated that. And I think that in the Middle East now, securing our interests clearly dictates promoting supporting a democratic future for the Middle East, and I think as Larry said, and as the report articulates, it requires a long-term bipartisan effort to promote reform in the region, let me just say, whenever I've been in the Middle East in the last two or three years, people say, "Well, the United States is only promoting democracy because it's in its interests," which, yes, the idea of national interests is sort of tautological, you don't really know, how is it a country pursues its interests because it's in its interest and if it doesn't then clearly it wasn't in its interests, but be that as it may, I say to people, "Yes, that is, in fact, the case." The United States is promoting democracy in the region because it's in its interests. This is a moment and we don't have that bipartisan consensus, so what I say to people is, "Look, you hate George Bush, you hate his policy on Palestine, you hate his policy on Iraq, the war on terror increasingly looks like a war on Islam, but if you want more open government, you want democracy in your region, you want human rights, you want separation of powers, you want an independent judiciary. The administration, rightfully or wrongfully, from your perspective, has now, as Larry said before, opened the door, provided that wedge. Now, you Democrats in the region who have your own vision of what Egyptian democracy might look like, or what Jordanian democracy might look like, run through that door. Take advantage of this moment, because the United States, as you alluded to, is historically feckless when it comes to these issues, and that type of thing is emerging right now with the election of a Hamas government in Palestine, people are taking a step back. Let me hold onto the election of the Hamas government in Palestine, because here's an example of a free and fair election that produced an outcome that did not please many of the people who are advocating the promotion of democracy, so my question is, should we be prepared, if we're serious about this, should we be prepared to accept outcomes we don't like? Should we be prepared to accept an independent media that report on things we don't want to hear? And should we take a position, should we decide to deny aid, for example, to the Hamas-led Palestinian authority? Is that a wise choice? Well, you've asked three questions, so let me try and unpackage them. Once elections happen, we have to have a certain degree of respect for the will of the electorate, but we also have to think analytically about what happened. In the case of Palestine, one has to note that Hamas won sixty percent of the seats with 44 percent of the vote, so we are not under any moral or political obligation to accept that as a landslide endorsement for its entire agenda. We also know that many Palestinians voted for Hamas purely as a protest vote. We have no obligation to fund a government that refuses to honor its obligations under the Oslo accords, and elementary principles of shared obligation and justice in terms of the general consensus in favor of a two-state solution in the region. At the same time, I think we have a practical obligation to ourselves and to the state of Israel as the state of Israel has an obligation to itself. I know I go far beyond what we dealt with in the Task Force report because this is a fairly recent development, but I don't think it's in our interest to have the Palestinian Authority to become a failed state, and we walk along a very fine, explosive dangerous line between not endorsing and facilitating a terrorist-supporting government, and not so punishing the people of that, really brutalized territory, that it just sinks into utter chaos, and somehow we're going to have to strike a delicate balance, and I would even say a better balance than we have. You asked about media. Let me come back to your analogy to the Cold War. We won the Cold War in part because of the creation of institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy in the 1980s and because President Reagan embraced a forward strategy of freedom. He didn't call it that, but that's what it was during the last five or six years of his administration. It wasn't the only reason but it was important. We won it in part because we had been ceding the terrain of ideas and values in the Communist world, through Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty, over several decades, and they were effective, and we know now as a result of the historical record and the account sense, that they had a very big impact. In the case of the Middle East we have not had anything near the same effectiveness in public diplomacy. It's been really, almost disastrous. Our ineptitude, our lack of credibility, our lack of understanding, and I think we need to go back and think about what are some of the lessons we learned from that experience about how to reach people in an effective way and in a credible way so that the flow of ideas and values can accumulate over time. It's going to take a long time, but I don't think we've learned that bad lesson very well in the current era, and maybe Steve could speak to that. Let's say more about public diplomacy. I just want to circle back to the Hamas issue, and then I'd be happy to talk about public diplomacy, to give me an opportunity to flak for myself. Let's assume, let's play a thought experiment on Hamas. Let's assume that its charter did not call for the destruction of Israel. Let's assume for a moment that its leadership has given up the armed struggle. Then you have to think about Hamas as an organization. Is this a democratic organization? Is this an organization, and I don't care about its internal operation, but is this an organization that is committed to upholding democratic principles? Human rights? Rule of law? Protection of the minority? None of those things are evident in anything that any Hamas spokesman has uttered since this election. Participating in a free and fair election does not make an organization a democratic one. There are plenty of examples; in fact, Hamas is just one example that began in the early 1990s with the Algerian election where an inherently anti-Democratic force sought to use the quasi-or pseudo-democratic institutions in the state to advance its agenda. Now I'm not defending the Algerian generals who engaged in a coup d'etat that launched Algeria into 12 years and 150,000 dead people, but what I am seeing is that before, we leap into, we need to talk to Hamas, and we want a free and fair election, et cetera, we need to examine what this organization is about. I agree with Larry 100 percent. We need to walk a very, very fine line between not according this group legitimacy it seeks, while at the same time not punishing the Palestinian people, and let me just add that the longer we punish the Palestinian people, the dynamics of Palestinian politics are such that they're likely to improve Hamas' chances of staying in power as opposed to the other way around. Now on this question of the media and public diplomacy. Actually, hold on that for a moment, because one would think that a government was legitimate by virtue of having been elected, so I'm wondering if this formula that you have for determining whether a freely elected government is legitimate government is understood in the region. How is this perceived in the region? I'm sure that the 44 percent of Palestinians and more who voted for Hamas regard Hamas to be a legitimate government. That doesn't necessarily mean that the United States has to take a position that advocates on behalf of an organization that is inherently anti-Democratic, and then add into it - I'm asking how it's understood in the region. Well, it's understood as an egregious double standard, but the fact remains is that the problem, the problem that we have with that is because we haven't laid out a strategy. WE haven't laid out a clear vision of what we seek and who we support. This administration has fallen back on the sin of the father by saying, well, they got in trouble in Iraq, they got in trouble here and there, so they pointed to elections as evidence that their policy is paying off. Elections in Iraq, elections in Egypt, et cetera, so there's a free and fair election in Palestine, so people can now pillory them for this egregious double standard, but had the administration come out and said, "As we say in the report, any group that upholds democratic principles, that gives up arms, that does not use violence, will receive the benefit of the doubt from the United States." But Hamas clearly hasn't met any of these criteria. Seems completely reasonable to be arguing that in order to receive U.S. aid, any political party would have to accept the notion that the state has a monopoly on the use of force, that it has to lay down its arms. I'd argue that in Iraq, I'd argue that as well as in the Palestinian territories, but beyond that, it is a confusing message that you are sending, and so we'll try to work our way through it in the half-hour ahead for us, because it's hard to grasp, but go forward. Just quickly, then I'll move to the public diplomacy end. The United States should support democracy in the region, not elections, even if they're free, not just elections, even if they're free and fair. If you support democracy, if you support minority rights, if you support human rights, it doesn't seem to me to be a huge contradiction to say that Hamas doesn't meet those criteria. I mean, on this question of media and public diplomacy, I couldn't have said that better, it has been absolutely disastrous. This administration has a notorious tenure when it comes to public diplomacy, but might I add it is not just a problem of this administration. It's a problem of the Democratic Party, and people on Capitol Hill who have systematically overseen the destruction of our ability to get our message out. They have defunded Voice of America, they have defunded a variety of innovative programs, they defunded the United States Information Agency, they closed down the United States Information Agency, they created at the behest of one of the Democratic Party's biggest donors, al-Hura, the free one, our answer to al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, which is an unmitigated disaster, nobody watches it, people think of it as the propaganda arm of the United States, so there's that piece of it, and then you have our czar for public diplomacy going out to the region and using kinds of metaphors and ideas about the human rights, civil rights struggle in the United States that just falls flat on Arab audiences, so we need to devise a way of getting our message out, but part of it is not just America is wonderful, it's a great place for Muslims and Arabs. Part of the problem is our policies in the region. We're not going to get around Iraq; we're not going to get around the widely held perception that the United States supports everything that Israel does. It struck me that you and, both in your report and in your remarks have said that this is a moment that you see this. That it's my fear. You see this. Oh, I thought you were seeing this as a positive moment. It is a positive moment. It is a positive moment; I'm concerned that it will close. And at the same time, Larry Diamond seems to be saying that in fact our presence in Iraq, or things going awry in Iraq, really undermined any effort at democracy promotion in the region because it takes away a lot of potential support we could have; it also affects our own bandwidth, our ability to maneuver. It's not only scared the wits out of regimes, most of all it seems to me the Jordanian regime, which might have considered reforms but is now obsessed with the spillover effects of instability. I think it has also deeply unsettled many members of the sort of liberal middle class, and here we need to separate the liberal element from the democratic element. A lot of the liberal secular forces in the Arab world, who believe in a rule of law, believe in space for civil society, share many of our values, fear democracy in the political sense, of majority rule and free and fair elections, because they fear that a rapid transition to open, competitive, unmitigated competition for power, will empower Islamists and lead to a less liberal society even than they have now, so I'd say both these forces, liberal middle-class non-governmental forces, even in the business community, and elements of the regime that might consider reform, younger elements, potentially reformists like King Abdullah in Jordan, are, I think, deeply worried, first of all, that the example seems to be failing, and second of all, at the stimulus to Islamic fundamentalist belief and political mobilization that has been unleashed in separate but reciprocal ways, both in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, and in the Shiite Arab areas of Iraq. Do we have natural allies in the region, that is to say, obviously there are those who hold power would not be enthusiastic at this moment to relinquish power, but even the democracy movements that exist in the region seem to have considerably less faith in us, and less of a desire to be associated with us than in the past. Is that right? That is true. And it's a function of two things, actually. We do have natural allies in the region. Liberals, democrats, nationalists, as Larry pointed out, given the choice between the authoritarianism of the regime and the authoritarianism of Islamists, these people will choose the authoritarianism of the regime before the Islamists, but at the same time, there is a deep reservoir of disappointment amongst these people that they've been forced to make this choice because the United States supports authoritarian regimes. I don't know how many Egyptian liberals have said to me, we've lost faith in the United States because they support this repugnant regime. That's one part of it. The other part of it is that while privately a lot of these people do support what this administration has done, at least on the rhetorical level, talk to people as we did in part of it, the task force, when we went to Cairo and we invited people from around the region to come and confer with us, they said, "We believe, and you have to give credit where credit is due, that the President's forthright, very public statements about democracy in the Middle East has made a difference." It has allowed these people to pursue their agenda in ways they were unable to pursue even four years ago, but publicly they cannot make this connection because our invasion of Iraq and our policy on Palestine has so sullied a very progressive, and I think important message