How soon we forget what history has taught us, here Natan Sharansky reminds us.
"The idea that certain peoples are incapable of democratic self-rule or have no desire for it has a long pedigree in Western diplomatic thinking. So too does the notion that the spread of democracy is not always in the democratic world's interest. Still, for the most of the Cold War few people bothered to re-examine these old prejudices because almost no one believed that a democratic revolution in the USSR was possible. Efforts by the West to 'impose' its values on the Soviets were considered completely unrealistic. The Soviets may not have been the ideal partner, but they were seen as strong and going nowhere. Confrontation, it was believed, would only make things worse for America, the Soviets, for everybody. Better to work out a compromise that would bring order and stability toward affairs than to engage in a reckless brinkmanship that had no chance of success. Put simply, most people believe there was little point in fighting a war that could not be won."In my opinion, dictatorships are both directly and indirectly responsible for most of the world's insecurity. All dictators must, and do lead their countries by fear and repression, and when that alone doesn't control their populations, they create external enemies to unite their people against a common foe. This leads their poor and frustrated populations to focus their attention on external problems, instead of focusing on the real problem, the dictator himself.
This is how many of the world's dictators fuel most of the world's hatred, by exposing their populations to state run propaganda and creating enemies for their people to hate. Compromising with these dictators for the sake of short term stability, only prolongs the length of time these dictators will stay in power, giving them more time to mislead and enrage their people.
Saudi Arabia is just one example of how Western governments settled for stability and avoided confrontation with a dictatorship that later came back to haunt them. For years the Saudi royal family has kept themselves in power by promoting hate, though Wahhabism, to unite their population against non-Muslims, and Muslims who don't follow the radical Wahhabi sect of Islam; Thus creating a world wide phenomenon of hatred and terrorism, with many followers now spread across many of the world's countries.
With hindsight, should the Saudi problem have been left to boil over and cause the long term pain it has, and will continue to do so long into the future? Or could have the problem be nipped in the bud a couple of decades ago, by promoting democracy through economic linkage and/or by direct confrontation? Would promoting democracy have lead to a better life for the Saudi people and spared them the misguided teachings of the Saudi royal family's clerics?
I know I'm singling the Saudi dictatorship out, but the same thing could be said of most of the world's dictatorships. Iran, North Korea, the PA, Sudan, and the former Yugoslavia all have promoted hatred throughout their populations to stay in power and control their people with the sole reason being, self preservation. I personally think its sad that Western governments deal with and prop up dictatorships in hope of short term stability, over real solutions to growing problems, I think its time we stopped passing the buck onto the next generation.