In subsequent conversations with fellow Arab leaders, including President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, I learned that they had had very similar discussions with members of the Bush administration. “What happens the day after you remove Saddam?” they had asked. The inability of the administration to give a concrete answer left us all very uncomfortable.

Part of the problem with the Bush administration was its cookie-cutter approach toward the concept of exporting democracy, which basically came down to holding elections. To my mind, developing an effective democracy is a journey. Voting in the absence of a widespread acceptance of democratic values and the existence of an independent judiciary can be a disaster. Democratic institutions are strengthened by the presence of a strong, effective middle class and reputable governing bodies.

King Abdullah II of Jordan: Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril