A number of people, including a friend of mine, are of the opinion that we can’t allow the government in Yemen to collapse in case Muslim extremists take over. They had the same views on Egypt, and likely hold the same views on a great many other countries where strongmen rule, the people suffer and terrorists are held at bay. These people justify allowing brutal governments to remain in charge under the logic that, hey, at least they aren’t fostering terrorism against us!
These people are what you might call “wrong”.
See, here’s my thinking on this. I think we need to support democracy all over the world, even, perhaps especially, in countries we are friends with. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, all of these are countries where the people don’t enjoy even basic freedoms and live in fear of their governments. It’s not right to claim that they need to be held down so that we can have the illusion of safety.
We need to support their desire for freedom. Yes, they might turn around and put extremists in office (ie: Iran). It’s possible. Then they’d have a government that hates us, but the people might at least be friendly toward us (ie: Iran). I fail to see how keeping them oppressed makes them less likely to harbor terrorists and want to destroy us.
So let’s speak out and fight for them. Let’s also stand up and make real noise against other countries where the people are oppressed. Places like the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, the “Democratic” “Republic” of the Congo, and places like that. We need to stand up for these people’s rights, because often they can’t stand up on their own, and if we’re friends with governments that, at the very least, don’t allow people freedom of expression, then we really need to rethink our policies.