Natan Sharansky & Ron Dermer
The Case for Democracy:
The Power of Freedom to Overcome
Tyranny and Terror.
Public Affairs, 279 pages, $26.95

Critics harp on the “hubris” of the Bush administration’s plan to democratize the Middle East. It simply can’t be done! they wail. You’ll destabilize the region! Breed more terrorists! Trigger doomsday! Sometimes, not content with this exaggerated pessimism, they opt for condescension: The Arabs aren’t ready for freedom. Worse still: They don’t want it. These arguments, usually propped up by cursory observations about sharia or other aspects of Muslim culture, are in use by everyone from the top Mideast analysts down to the anti-war student activists on the quad.

Yet, says Natan Sharansky in The Case for Democracy, these arguments aren’t new. They are precisely the...


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