Today, everyone and his cousin supports the “freedom agenda.” Of course, yesterday it was just George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and a band of neocons with unusual hypnotic powers who dared to challenge the received wisdom of Arab exceptionalism — the notion that Arabs, as opposed to East Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans, and Africans, were uniquely allergic to democracy. Indeed, the Left spent the better part of the Bush years excoriating the freedom agenda as either fantasy or yet another sordid example of U.S. imperialism.
Now it seems everyone, even the Left, is enthusiastic for Arab democracy. Fine. Fellow travelers are welcome. But simply being in favor of freedom is not enough. With Egypt in turmoil and in the midst of a perilous transition, we need foreign-policy principles to ensure democracy for the long run.