By Rich Zeoli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rich Zeoli talked with Federalist Editor David Harsanyi on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about his piece, “The Last Thing the Middle East Needs is More Democracy.”

Harsanyi said democracy has not succeeded in that region because it is not what the people want.


“Democracy has failed in the Middle East simply because democracy is not what people think it is. It’s not always synonymous with freedom and jobs and good economies and things like that. It reflects the will of the people. A lot of the times in these countries the citizenry is far more extreme than the leadership, which is authoritarian already. It leads to problems. There’s so many factions, so many different things going on that when you have democracy, the most violent people end up winning.”

He insists that democracies will never work in the Middle East because their theocracies will not defend dissent.

“You can’t have a secular democracy and a theocracy at the same time. When you have a theocracy, you don’t really have freedom because one of the most important parts of having a liberal secular democracy is that you protect the rights of the minority and that doesn’t happen in places that have Shariah law for the most part.”

Harsanyi stated that another complication in exporting democracy is that many Muslims do not have an strong affinity or loyalty to their state.

“Nationalism failed in the Arab world and it’s very difficult to piece it back together because people don’t feel those sorts of connections. They have connections to their factions, Shia, or Sunni, or Kurds, whatever they are and those things break apart and things become violent, I don’t what the answer is. I think the best answer would be secular dictators who believe in freedom and want to reform their countries but that doesn’t happen either.”