Part of the belief in democracy is that it is by nature a moderating force (one can even see this with Hezbollah in Lebanon). We cannot support democratic change contingent on what democracy will bring; even if it may not serve our interests in the short run, it’s still the best alternative human beings have come up with. In this case, one can certainly understand Netanyahu’s concern; Mubarak is “the devil he knows.” But it’s often the case that autocratic rulers are easier to deal with since they typically answer to no one. Yet, while they appear more stable in the short run, more dictatorships have been overthrown by democratic movements than the other way around. And when that uprising comes, supporting a dictator against the populace is not the best role for an elected leader.
Jerusalem’s problem is also Jerusalem’s opportunity. It can have a role to play in this transition that may impact what most hope will be a democratic Egypt, and the Arab street is watching closely. Israel’s problem, even according to some of its supporters, is that it has never had a long-term plan in regard to the Palestinians, leading to actions that are largely reactive and myopic. Perhaps these events can convince Israel that it has to act and not simply react, for it will soon no longer be the “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
The full piece is here.