Diana West delivers a terrific column about the rise of democratic sentiment in the Middle East and the dangers lurking beneath the surface there. In the excitement about events in that region, it is important to be realistic about the facts on the ground. Specifically, when it comes to the Palestinian Authority we should not confuse the small bit of progress that has occurred since Arafat’s death with real democracy. As Natan Sharansky says:
[The Palestinian] election can be the beginning of the democratic process only if we don’t have illusions that democracy is already there, and that all we have to do now is give them independence. If this is what we do, then we will find that we have given independence not to a democratic state, but to a terrorist state.