Why do we keep believing Islamists?

Think for a moment about what has actually happened. Youths with modern ideas, resulting in part from what they’ve learned online, were the engines of the revolts that threw the dictators out of office. But when elections came, most people voted for what they knew. That’s not democracy; none of those states have any significant history of that or exposure to it from their neighbors. For Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, the haven from brutal dictatorship has been religion. So, not surprisingly, they elected religious leaders.

But now all of these countries are in one way or another beholden to the West. Egypt gets at least $1.3 billion in American aid each year. The United States and NATO fought to help Libyans overthrow Moammar Khadafy. Tunisia has strong trade relations with the West and receives significant aid from Washington. So it’s no wonder these candidates and leaders are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Imagine if an American politician – a mayor, a governor, a congressman – was thrust suddenly into a leadership position in a deeply Islamic state. The American would find he had to talk the talk. But in his heart, would he ever be able to abandon the democratic ideals that have served as the foundations of his life? Certainly not.