The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror

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Overview

Natan Sharansky has lived an unusual life, spending nine years as a Soviet political prisoner and nine years as an Israeli politician. He brings the unique perspective of his experiences in order to make the case for democracy with his longtime friend and adviser Ron Dermer. In this brilliantly analytical yet personal book, nondemocratic societies are put under a microscope to reveal the mechanics of tyranny that sustain them. In exposing the inner workings of a "fear society," the authors explain why democracy ...
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The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror

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Overview

Natan Sharansky has lived an unusual life, spending nine years as a Soviet political prisoner and nine years as an Israeli politician. He brings the unique perspective of his experiences in order to make the case for democracy with his longtime friend and adviser Ron Dermer. In this brilliantly analytical yet personal book, nondemocratic societies are put under a microscope to reveal the mechanics of tyranny that sustain them. In exposing the inner workings of a "fear society," the authors explain why democracy is not beyond any nation's reach, why it is essential for our security and why there is much that can be done to promote it around the world.

Freedom, the authors claim, is rooted in the right to dissent, to walk into the town square and declare one's views without fear of punishment or reprisal. The authors persuasively argue that societies that do not protect that right can never be reliable partners for peace and that the democracy that hates us is much safer than the dictatorship that loves us. The price for stability inside nondemocratic regimes, the authors explain, is terror outside of them. Indeed, the security of the free world depends on using all possible leverage-moral, political, and financial-to support democracy.

This book is about much more than theory. After explaining why the expansion of democracy is so critical to our future, the authors take us on a fascinating journey to see firsthand how an evil empire was destroyed and how the principles that led to that destruction were abandoned in the search for peace in the Middle East.

But the criticism contained in this book does not dampen its profound optimism. When there is every reason to doubt that freedom will prevail in the Middle East, this book declares unequivocally that the skeptics are wrong. The argument advanced here makes clear why lasting tyranny can be consigned to history's dustbin if the free world stays true to its ideals. The question is not whether we have the power to change the world but whether we have the will. Summoning that will demands that we move beyond Right and Left and start thinking about right and wrong.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drawing on his autobiography-from Soviet refusenik to Israeli cabinet minister - Sharansky distinguishes between "fear" and "free" societies. He spends a significant amount of time taking on conservative "realists" who prize stability in international relations, as well as liberals who he says fail to distinguish between flawed democracies that struggle to implement human rights and authoritarian or totalitarian states that flout human rights as a matter of course. Sharansky criticizes those who argue that democracy is culturally contingent and therefore unsuited for Muslim societies. Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he mentions documented Israeli human rights abuses, but places the bulk of the blame for the conflict on the dictatorial systems prevalent in Arab societies. He also weighs in on the vexing subject of how to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from the "new anti-Semitism." Such criticism must pass the "3D" test of "[no] demonization, double standards, or delegitimation." Sharansky does not grapple deeply with the current situation in Iraq, but his opinions throughout, honed through years in a Soviet prison and in the corridors of power, feel earned. Agent, Marvin Josephson at ICM. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892216444
  • Publisher: Icon Publishing Group, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Pages: 303
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anatoly Sharansky was born January 20, 1948 in Donetsk, Ukraine to a Jewish family and later graduated with a degree in Applied Mathematics from the Physical Technical Institute in Moscow. Sharansky is the chairman and founder (1995) of the political party Yisrael B'Aliyah (or "Israel on the rise") promoting the absorption of the Soviet Jews into Israeli society.

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Table of Contents

Preface IX
Introduction 1
1 Is Freedom for Everyone? 18
2 A Free Society and a Fear Society 39
3 Dognat Y Peregnat 65
4 Mission Possible 96
5 From Helsinki to Oslo 144
6 The Battle for Moral Clarity 193
7 A Missed Opportunity 227
Conclusion 266
Notes 281
Acknowledgments 291
Index 295
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Customer Reviews

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