There is a very interesting article The Wrong Friends: The Uncomfortable Lesson Of The Uprisings In The Middle East in The Boston Globe. The author is David Mednicoff.
But one thing is undeniable: In a region full of monarchies and other unelected regimes, the government that fell — the one government unable to maintain enough hold on the public to weather a crisis — was the most secular one.
Mednicoff is referring to Tunisia in this quote, but the rest of the article goes on to consider many other countries in the Middle East.
When Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama start making pronouncements on what the government of Egypt should and shouldn’t do in the face of the current crisis, I get a very queasy feeling. How would they know what Egypt ought to do? Obama and Clinton have their hands full figuring out what the U.S.A. ought to do.
Author David Mednicoff puts some meat on the bones of my queasy feeling. We in the United States think that there should be a separation between church and state. That is a form of government we have chosen for ourselves. It works pretty well for us, a heterogeneous country of people of many religions. Where is it written, that all countries must adopt this system and all peoples yearn for this type of government? We already know that there are many people in this country who think this country ought to be a Christian nation. We do not have such a system because we decided to adopt a Constitution that prohibits it. Do we have the right to impose this system on everyone else in the world? Why should we even be promoting such a system in other people’s countries? Why can’t we, in all humility, let those people decide what kind of a system they want?
In the face of our knee-jerk reaction to those that want Sharia law in their countries, I have had my doubts on how tenable a Jewish state is in Israel. Now I realize why it is not up to me to make this value judgment.
Perhaps we still have a leg to stand on when we think that the people in a country ought to have a voice in the choice of the form of their own government. To the extent that a certain form is foisted upon them without their consent, perhaps we can still rightly decry the situation.