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Defense Min.: West Needs to Wake Up

Minister Yaalon says bringing democracy to the Middle East is a bad, naïve idea.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/24/2013, 6:14 PM

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud) said Thursday that the West needs to "wake up" from the idea that the Middle East's problems will be solved through democratization.

"The western idea of bringing what succeeded in Europe – democracy – to the Middle East, is really irrelevant," he said at a financial conference in Tel Aviv. "It stems from ignorance, from not being well acquainted with the Middle East, in large part from naïveté, confusing wishes for reality. Even if it comes from good intentions – 'We'll bring you a good idea' – it smacks of patronizing."

"I say all this because the next failure is already written on the pages of history, if the West does not wake up," he warned. "It is called 'democratization through elections.' Whoever thinks democracy can be instilled just by holding elections is simply wrong."

Yaalon said that while it is preferable that the Iranian regime disarm itself of its nuclear weapons program as "a result of diplomatic and economic pressure, or perhaps internal pressure," a credible military option must also be put before it.