The Tipping Point

Today the AP reported (via Haaretz) that Egypt is about to implement democratic reform:

      CAIRO – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the constitution changed to allow multi-candidate presidential elections in September, making a surprise reversal yesterday that could mean he will face a challenger for the first time since taking power in 1981.

It was the first significant move toward political reform in decades in Egypt, a powerhouse in the Arab world that has had one-party rule for more than half a century. The announcement came amid increasing calls for political reform from the domestic opposition and from the United States and after historic Iraqi and Palestinian elections that brought a taste of democracy to the region.

Opposition figures and reform advocates welcomed Mubarak’s announcement, but some feared it may only be a superficial change to appease pressure at home and abroad. The step came as a dispute sharpened with the United States over Egypt’s arrest of one of the strongest proponents of multi-candidate elections.

Does any sane person believe that this would have occurred if President George W. Bush and the American military had not liberated Afghanistan and Iraq from the grip of brutal tyrannies? Can anyone assert with a straight face that election reform in Egypt would have occurred if Iraq had not just experienced its first democratic election, with millions of Iraqis braving the threat of death to stain their fingers with purple ink? Could anyone not acknowledge that Condoleezza Rice’s decision to cancel a trip to Egypt (in order to express her government’s displeasure at Egyptian autocracy) had no effect on President Mubarak’s decision?

This may be lip service on the part of the Egyptians. It may come to nothing; after all, centuries of autocratic habit make a change of course difficult and hazardous. But Egypt has confirmed that George W. Bush is correct: all human beings everywhere aspire to liberty, and the spread of democracy is indeed the calling of our time. Expedience will require us to settle for less, and bide our time. But the principle is affirmed.

The Left will likely never acknowledge the significance of this event, or even that it has occurred. The shrill chorus of those who hate “Bushitler” will not be silenced. But the truth will be here, for history to record.

We have passed the tipping point.