Here is an interesting article exploring the intellectual foundations of the “Arab Spring” and why they are tending to lead (through fair elections) towards Islamism and not away from it. Many Western commentators are boggled by this development, particularly after the wholesale – and thoroughly Western – optimism that democracy would liberalize the Middle East.

As we suggested here back in May, such a view of democracy is at best naive. Democracy itself cannot address issues that run deeper than politics (though it may exacerbate or minimize their effect). Instead, democracy simply provides one vehicle for a society to express its deeply seeded values, and as John Owen suggests, that looks to be Islamism in the Middle East.

Are you surprised by these developments?

What do you think the long term effects of democracy in the Middle East will be?