By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Who is worse, President Mohammed Morsi, the elected Islamist seeking to apply Islamic law in Egypt, or former President Hosni Mubarak, the dictator ousted for trying to start a dynasty?
It wasn't that long ago that the question posed by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' (FDD) annual national security conference — "Dictators and Dissidents: Should the West Choose Sides?" — would have seemed easier to answer. But what happens when victory by the dissidents leads not to democracy but to totalitarian rule?
Ideas have consequences, as Richard Weaver famously wrote. If one misconstrues the ideas of the Islamists who are coming to power in the Middle East, one inevitably will misjudge the consequences. Take Reuel Marc Gerecht's recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "The Islamist Road to Democracy."
It is no exaggeration to declare that Vladimir Putin's Russia is a true "spookocracy," a government dominated by members and veterans of intelligence services, what Reuel Marc Gerecht calls a "unique corporate, capitalist police-state."
This issue came up in an interesting debate for Intelligence Squared U.S. in early October when Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress argued, "Better elected Islamists than dictators," while Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and I made the counter-argument.
As for Egypt, he noted approvingly but inaccurately that "the Muslim Brotherhood is having serious internal debates because they haven't figured out how to handle [their success].