Their Victory, Not Ours

The full story appears on Huffington Post.

In an article today for Slate, entitled “America is Freedom, and Freedom is Winning,” Eliot Spitzer grandly presents the popular uprisings in the Middle East as vindication of American ideals.

“The revolutions are being led by largely secular thinkers: young educated, and for whom Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are appealing leaders, not Hu Jintao or Muammar Qaddafi,” he writes. “We are winning — despite our errors, flaws, and occasional horrific mistakes.”

I share Spitzer’s euphoria over the transformation sweeping the region, as I do his conviction that Egyptians, Tunisians and others in the Arab world have no desire to emulate Iranian theocracy or Al Qaeda-esque fundamentalism.

But this is their victory, not ours. It’s true that a number of the revolutionaries have professed their admiration for America. It might also be true, as Spitzer argues, that the United States is the best exemplar of a free society the world has ever known. Yet the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, whose desperate act of self-immolation unleashed the latent yearnings of millions upon their governments, was not motivated by visions of American-style democracy. Nor have been the men and women in the “freedom squares,” who have braved beatings, teargas and live fire to register their grievances.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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