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Elections in the Arab World Are a Bad Idea

The Nazis won the elections in 1932. Salvodor Allende, a Marxist, won the elections in Chile in 1970. And now Islamist Mohammad Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, won the presidential election in Egypt.

These events reveal two facts. First, devoted missionaries of liberal democracy were wrong in their naive belief that the overthrow of bloody Arab dictators would bring freedom and liberty to oppressed people. The problem is that the people themselves don't share these values. Take, for example, a survey by the polling agency Free Egyptians in which an overwhelming majority of Egyptians supported the terrorist attacks against the United States on 9/11.

While free elections brought Hamas, a terrorist organization, to power in the Palestinian Authority, elections in countless African and South American countries have been won by cannibals and terrorists alike.

How can I respect the people's choice if the people choose Hitler or Morsi? How can I respect the choice of the Palestinian people if they choose Hamas? The organization wants Israel to be wiped off the map. Meanwhile, an 8-year-old Arab girl recently wrote in a United Nations-sponsored journal that her dream is to embrace her hero, Hitler, because he killed more than 6 million Jews. Should I respect these "voices of the people"?

If elections had been held in the Soviet Union in 1952, do you think anyone but Josef Stalin would have won? 

Free elections are great tools in the West, when the people choose, for example, between Republicans and Democrats in the United States or Liberals and Conservatives in Britain. But in the Arab Middle East, elections aren't such a good idea. There, the people's will is solely responsible for bringing to power the third form of totalitarianism to appear after the Nazis and Communists: religious totalitarianism.

Hoping that Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi will not universally introduce Sharia law is like hoping that Allende would not build socialism. How could it be otherwise if that is exactly what he promised to do, he was elected for that purpose, and the influential groups supporting him are intent on that goal?

Of course, the Egyptian military can overthrow Morsi in the same way that General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Allende.

Or else Morsi will get rid of his military by sending it on a hopeless and deadly war against Israel and paving the way for a loyal military to be formed in its place.

Or perhaps Morsi will imprison his top adversaries in the military as the Turkish Islamists imprisoned theirs.

Or else the Egyptian military will stage a junta and overthrow Morsi. If this happens, hopefully the West will regard the military not as servants of the former tyrant, but as the better of two evils — the only force in Egypt that is capable of resisting violent Islamic radicalism.

As for me, I hope that Arab people everywhere will start building the Kingdom of Allah on Earth as soon as possible. The sooner it is erected, the sooner it will collapse. It was the same with communism. It was only when Soviet leaders actually tried to build communism that all of its myths were completely dispelled.

Sometimes you have to build a system to kill it.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.

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