To give credit for the democratic uprisings in the Middle East to U.S. influence (“Iraq democracy inspires Arabs”, The Australian, 10/3) displays extraordinary disregard for the recent history of the region and the current facts. The U.S. has supported democracy there only when doing so has suited its regional ambitions, and has more often supported and even installed tyrants and despots when that has been convenient, including Mubarak himself.
Even now, some conservative commentators want to to pick and choose which countries deserve democracy, based on whether it furthers U.S. interests.
Make no mistake, the U.S. is still deeply distrusted in the Arab world, with good reason. If this was seldom mentioned during the uprisings, it was not in a spirit of admiration, but of forgiveness.