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The Case For Democracy By Natan Sharansky

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Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


0 posted 01-20-2005 10:14 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror
by Natan Sharansky

“From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on his autobiography—from Soviet refusenik to Israeli cabinet minister – Sharansky distinguishes between "fear" and "free" societies. He spends a significant amount of time taking on conservative "realists" who prize stability in international relations, as well as liberals who he says fail to distinguish between flawed democracies that struggle to implement human rights and authoritarian or totalitarian states that flout human rights as a matter of course. Sharansky criticizes those who argue that democracy is culturally contingent and therefore unsuited for Muslim societies. Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he mentions documented Israeli human rights abuses, but places the bulk of the blame for the conflict on the dictatorial systems prevalent in Arab societies. He also weighs in on the vexing subject of how to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from the "new anti-Semitism." Such criticism must pass the "3D" test of "[no] demonization, double standards, or delegitimation." Sharansky does not grapple deeply with the current situation in Iraq, but his opinions throughout, honed through years in a Soviet prison and in the corridors of power, feel earned. . .

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1586482610/qid=1106276514/sr =2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/102-5575332-8033722


During comments on the Inauguration I heard from different sources
that Bush and his are passing this book out to anybody with hands
they can.  It seems to be at least in part the inspiration for the content
and tone of his  Inauguration speech and its vision.

Has anyone read this book?  Does anyone know something about the author?
Denise
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since 08-22-99
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1 posted 01-20-2005 10:40 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yes, I've heard of it and plan to get it. It sounds worth investigating.
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


2 posted 01-21-2005 12:26 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

I was very impressed by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
many years ago.  I read all his available books
through “The Gulag Archipelago.”  I respected
his courage, the depth and sincerity of his convictions,
but I would never have relied on him to provide a
basis for foreign policy.


“Sharansky's opinions about contemporary Arab dictatorships are rooted deeply in his dissident experience. He believes that all people want freedom, understood first and foremost as the ability to express one's opinions without fear. This freedom is the essence of democracy, he says, and if given the choice, all people will choose it. Under the right circumstances, he adds, everyone can attain it.

But it's not up to them alone. Beyond wishing and waiting for democracies to emerge, Sharansky says the West has an obligation to actively promote them.”

Rachel Zabarkes Friedman

“Today, if you look at those fighting for the rights of women and gays and clean nature against pollution, they are ready to see as their allies the most awful regimes. Those people are now suffering from us, they think, so we have to take care of our own problems first.

Unfortunately, there was always a lack of moral clarity on the Left. Those concerned with human rights were ready to play it down. There were social democrats who wanted to see the Soviet Union as a stable partner of the U.S. Their desire to find allies and to fight the evils of the West was so strong that some — not all — of them were ready to ignore the awful nature of the Soviet Union.”

Natan Sharansky

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/friedman200405030855.asp


I am not comfortable with this.

The article is extended and may save the price
of a book, (which may only seek to prove points).

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


3 posted 01-21-2005 06:10 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

There is a blind spot here. I don't suppose anybody read Jeane Kirkpatrick in the '80's?

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


4 posted 01-21-2005 07:32 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“He believes that all people want freedom, understood first and foremost
as the ability to express one's opinions without fear.”

I wonder about this.

Which, given a choice between the two, would man
choose:

Freedom of expression or freedom from want
Freedom of expression or security
Freedom or peace.
Freedom or being dominant.
Freedom or salvation.
etc.

If “submission”, (the literal translation of “Islam”), is the
path to Paradise, how important then is freedom of expression?

If Sharansky is so right, what about Palestine?

Is Sharansky guilty of the “Noble Savage” delusion?

.............

“The commander-in-chief has been actively promoting the latest work by former Soviet Jewish dissident - and Israeli politician - Natan Sharansky, recommending it as a must-read for those who want to grasp his own world view. . .

In his book, Mr Sharansky echoes many of the president's favourite themes, likening the fight against terrorism to the struggle with Nazism and communism, and describing a world "divided between those who are prepared to confront evil and those who are willing to appease it".

"I am convinced that all peoples desire to be free," Sharansky writes. "I am convinced that freedom anywhere will make the world safer everywhere. And I am convinced that democratic nations, led by the United States, have a critical role to play in expanding freedom around the globe."  . .

"The survival of liberty in our land," he said, "increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."

Some see the book as the inspiration for lines such as these, . . .”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4195303.stm


This will play really well in Tehran . . .

[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (01-21-2005 09:09 PM).]

Denise
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Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


5 posted 01-22-2005 01:51 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Brad, Kirkpatrick was speaking in a world when other nations' lack of respect for democracy didn't impact us as directly as we now know it can since 9/11. As much as we may not want to be the world's policemen, or the midwives for democracy around the world, I think it's more imperative now than ever that we not shirk that responsibility. It is in our own best interests, more so than ever before, to help spread democracy and the love of democracy as far and wide as possible, in my opinion.


quote:
Which, given a choice between the two, would man
choose:

Freedom of expression or freedom from want
Freedom of expression or security
Freedom or peace.
Freedom or being dominant.
Freedom or salvation.
etc.


I suppose that would depend upon the personal value system of each individual, John, and which freedoms are under consideration. There are those who would give up just about anything to obtain or maintain freedom of this, that, or the other, and those who would give up nothing in order to obtain or maintain freedom of this, that, or the other.
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


6 posted 01-22-2005 02:17 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Denise,

That’s the problem.  You can’t assume your
support for or actions toward freedom would be
welcome.

I respect Joseph Campbell, but even as he extolled
the virtues of the emphasis on the individual, he acknowledged
that these are virtues in the Western cultural tradition
and are not necessarily considered attractive in
the rest of the world.  Agreeing, I would not then
go charging into another nation, on the assumption,
that despite all background and evidence, the majority
of its citizens beneath it all have the same values
and consequent aspirations as in the West and would
therefore welcome the intrusion.
Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


7 posted 01-22-2005 02:48 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Too many people come here, John, legally and illegally, to reap the benefit of those "Western values", for me to draw the conclusion that those values are something inherently "Western" and not longed for by virtually everyone. I do think that most people highly value freedom and desire it. Not all, of course, but I think most do.

 
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