Thursday, June 09, 2005

The UN 'towards Arab freedom'

The UN is developing an odd leaning towards and an understanding of freedom and markets. I commented a few months on a UN Environment Report unfairly characterised by the usual suspects as a call for more authoritarian environmentalism, but which in fact "recognised[d] that environmental degradation would be best reduced by more trade and more economic growth, and less taxation and less interference by Governments. In short, by more freedom and less government."

And now R.J. Rummell points out that a new UN Report on 'human development' in the Arab World subtitled 'Towards Freedom in the Arab World' "focuses on the acute deficit of freedom and good governance" that impedes any Arab renaissance. As Rummell says, it "has much to gladden the freedomist."
No Arab thinker today doubts that freedom is a vital and necessary condition, though not the only one, for a new Arab renaissance, or that the Arab world’s capacity to face up to its internal and external challenges, depends on ending tyranny and securing fundamental rights and freedoms.
The report establishes that the thirst for freedom in the Arab World exists -- "there is a rational and understandable thirst among Arabs to be rid of despots and to enjoy democratic governance" -- the problem is a similar one to that existing in Africa and so clearly overlooked by Bob Geldof's simplistic grandstanding: not 'the Arab mind' but "the acute deficit of freedom and good governance," which "has sapped the democratic movement of any real forward momentum."

In short, people in Arab countries are ready for freedom and democracy, but Arab dictators have been killing and suppressing any real opposition.

Concludes Rummell,
Even if it is projecting on the Arab world a bias toward freedom, this report still contains enough undoubted detail and facts, like the [World Values Survey], to question the view that democracy is incompatible with Arab culture, and [the view] that President Bush's Forward Strategy of Freedom for the region is grossly unrealistic.

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