Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Democracy Lesson for the US

On the eve of an extremely important election in Turkey, Anthony Shadid profiles Turkey's foreign minister - and a former academic - Ajmet Davutoglu, who offers (as Shadid notes) an important lesson in foreign policy:

As the day dragged on, Mr. Davutoglu offered an insight that might prove relevant to an Arab world in tumult, where the foreign policies of representative governments like Egypt might prove far different than the style of predecessors who stayed obedient to the United States. “The blessing of democracy,” he called it, and what he meant was that he had spent day after day, meeting after meeting, hearing from people he helped govern.

“If your foreign policy, however sophisticated it might be, doesn’t have a ground in public opinion, then that foreign policy is not sustainable,” Mr. Davutoglu said.

“This is democracy,” he added.

It was noted awhile back that, hoping to improve his international-relations chops, Mr. Obama opted to read more stuff by Thomas Friedman.  I'd rather he read - and be talking with - Tony Shadid . . . as well as Patrick Seale, both of whom have probably forgotten more about how the Middle East "works" than Friedman will ever know.

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