The Goldberg/Cole scrimmage
Bill C, over a Brain Droppings has a really nice analysis of the "fight" going on between Jonah Goldberg and Juan Cole over Cole's claim that Goldberg, because he does not speak arabic, is unqualified to comment on the Iraqi elections. Bill C makes it very clear that Goldberg decimates Cole's position, and then following up with this great statement about the virtues of a free election:
There is no doubt that Cole is an expert on the cultures of Middle East. But that does not make him an expert on politics and that is what the elections were all about. Cole's criticism is based on the idea that it is important to have a deep understanding of Iraqi society. I don't think it is because I am working on the assumption that the Iraqi people want self-government. The desire for self-determination is cross cultural and reflects the human desire to be free. You may argue that the human desire for security is higher and, on occasion, I would agree with you. But, as quaint as it may sound, democracy has taken root very easily in different human societies and I see no reason why it should not in the Middle East.