Promoting Democracy in the Middle East

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The Middle East is the home to many of the greatest advancements and achievements in the world. the numeral system developed in this region is one single example. It is unfortunate that today in the U.S. that many people only think of oil and terrorism when they think about the Middle East. For relations to improve between the Western world and the Middle East, then this perception must change. These sorts of changes do not take place overnight. It is only with respect for their cultures and religions that any improvement in relations between our regions can take place. We cannot hope to promote the idea of democracy and freedom without a basic respect for the region. With a thorough examination of the Middle East, we can learn how to approach these countries in a manner that peace and democracy have the most likely chance of taking hold, and we can avoid future catastrophes of policy such as the current situation in Iraq.The Arab world is particularly resistant to the U.S. policy of promoting democracy. Though the policy stems from the theory that democracies don’t fight, it is important to realize that the Arab world probably also state that if everybody else thought exactly as they did, there would not be fighting also. We find here a clash of ideologies, and this is not one easily solved: It is important to recognize that there is no compatibility between being a devout Muslim and a democrat2. While the U.S. was founded on the idea of a separation of church and state, this very idea is repulsive to many devout Muslims. Indeed, it is often the case that democracy itself is identified with Western influences that the strong Muslim revival itself has opposed.3 By having the promotion of democracy as the primary policy when dealing with the Middle East, this leads many Muslims to feel as though their very values upon which they base their lives are under attack.