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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, May 11, 2007


The Project for Middle East Democracy

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, May 11, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
Interesting website devoted to liberalizing the middle east:

The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) is dedicated to examining how genuine democracies can develop in the Middle East and how America can best support that process. While there are numerous advocacy groups influencing American policy toward the Middle East, few have consistently and credibly called for the U.S. to support genuine, authentic democratic reform in the region. Democracy is both a moral imperative and a fundamental concern for American national security.

While President Bush's rhetoric shifted dramatically to support a "forward strategy of freedom," the government's actual policies toward reform remain largely unchanged. This has too often meant turning a blind eye toward the repressive acts of friendly autocrats while using 'democracy' as a weapon to threaten our enemies. Democracy should not be so frequently subordinated to other interests that speak with greater power or contribute more money.

They also have a blog on the site, which is highly worth checking out. I am pleased to see that they have AF, BG, and AA on their blogroll. My only quibble is that a focus on democracy is putting cart before horse; democracy is the end product of a liberalizing tradition, not a starting point (as we have seen in Iraq, where purple fingers have been largely powerless in preventing anarchy and civil war).

Ultimately, liberalizing the middle east requires creating strong state and non-state institutions, fostering transparent governance, and economic growth. All of which being areas in which our present US Administration is uniquely ill-suited to lead on :( but the threat to pragmatic liberal interventionism is that the public will beccome disenchanted with the broader, noble goal of liberalization because of the present Administration's ideologically-driven and incompetence and failure. I think we need to "frame" the need more in terms of liberalization first, democracy second.

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.