by Patrick Appel

Alex Massie zooms out:

The Telegraph editorialises that "The West needs to be on its guard that, by supporting the cause of Arab democracy, it does not unwittingly unleash the forces of radical Islam." Well, yes. So does the Telegraph believe that, in the long-term, Arab democracy is impossible? Does it actually think that the west has been supporting democracy in the Arab world? (Apart from a brief, but even then ambivalent, flurry when Condi Rice was Secretary of State.) Or is it still too risky? If so, then for how much longer must it, and the people, be suppressed?

In the end this caution, perfectly reasonable as it is, risks empowering the very forces it is most afraid of. ... Sons of bitches remain sons of bitches even when they're notionally your sons of bitches. In the end there's a limit to how long you can support or tolerate them. Eventually the clock runs out on realpolitik. We may not be at that moment yet (there've been false dawns before) but some day we'll reach it. God knows what the consequences will be and some of them are likely to be pretty grim. But that's what happens when you're working with crooked timber.

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