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Obama Adopts the Freedom Agenda

But he hasn’t undergone a full conversion.

May 30, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 35 • By LEE SMITH
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The other thing the Obama administration might learn from American experience in Iraq is how Middle Eastern societies are actually transformed. That Obama has promised Egypt $1 billion in debt relief and another $1 billion in aid suggests Washington is not going to foot the bill for these transitions, as it did in Iraq. But Washington has learned a thing or two about Arab political cultures—about sectarianism and Islamism, both its Sunni and Shia variants; about cultivating a new generation of political leaders and sidelining less savory actors. Indeed, Washington has become the locus of expertise on Middle East democracy. Now that Obama has vindicated Bush’s freedom agenda, he can best advance U.S. interests, and promote the self-determination of Middle Easterners, by learning not just from his predecessor’s failures but his successes as well.

Lee Smith is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

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