In Tunisia and Egypt the US has missed an historic opportunity, says Ambassador Wolfowitz but we can make it up:
Although President Obama came into office amid much talk about boosting American “soft power,” there was an almost complete abandonment of active support for freedom and democratic values, not only in the Middle East but in Asia and Latin America, as well. Funding for democracy support programs was cut. And when courageous Iranians took to the streets to protest their theocratic tyranny, the Obama administration remained largely silent and inactive.
We can’t redo the past, but we can begin to make up for lost time. We are lucky that the extraordinary dramas in Egypt and Tunisia, unlike the Iranian revolution three decades ago, seem to have caught the Islamist organizations by surprise and, so far, the demonstrators in Egypt are not asking to replace a secular tyranny with an Islamist one. There is much that can yet go wrong, but that is all the more reason the United States needs to play an active role on behalf of freedom, because freedom’s enemies are certainly going to be active on the other side.