Amitai Etzioni’s recommendation to U.S. policy makers to abandon democracy promotion in volatile Muslim societies and embrace moderate Muslims who may not support democracy but adhere to basic human rights standards may be applicable to certain Middle Eastern states. It parallels U.S. policy in the cold war, in which the criteria for regime support was anticommunism rather than democracy. However, Catharin Dalpino argues that this paradigm may not apply to Southeast Asia and that Etzioni’s policy recommendations may indeed backfire in countries such as Indonesia. In that Muslim-majority country, the democratization process has provided leaders with mechanisms to curb the rise of political Islam. Recent studies show that this approach may be working, as Indonesian voters are moving away from religious identification as a determinant in voting behavior.
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