President Bush wound up a Middle East tour yesterday leaving many pro-democracy activists in the region bitter and disappointed, reports the Washington Post. The president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressured authoritarian Arab governments for political reforms in 2005, but now activists worry that the White House is favoring the stability of autocratic Arab governments over the uncertainty of democratically elected ones.
"We're already believers in what we're doing. But is there a partner there? Or are we alone in this now?" asked a former candidate in Kuwait's landmark 2006 elections. An Egyptian political activist complained that America's policy to press for democratic and civil rights reforms abroad is "right back to square one—this trip marks it."