Thought Experiment

The last sentence of Matt Y's most recent post at Tapped makes a key, if fairly obvious, point about democracy promotion. He says, "It would be much, much better if people who wanted to curb American influence in the Middle East did so by winning elections and denying us flyover and basing rights than by launching terrorist attacks on our soil."
This is clearly correct, though it may not prove as much as Matt (and I) would hope. There is no empirical evidence that I know of about how a radically Islamic democracy would behave (is there some period in Iranian history where people want to claim it was a plausible democracy? I don't see how this would be done, even at the late-90's height of the reform movement). It could be that such a democracy wouldn't think it's nearly sufficient that the United States powers to dominate in the Middle East are substantially reduced, and that they also desire to reduce the United States standard of living at home. Now, that last clause sounds a lot like, "They hate us for our freedom!" Since that's a position I don't hold (I think it's a joke), I should be clear that what I mean is that even if the United States influence in the Middle East waned quite seriously, there could still be a lot of anger at the United States over old wrongs, real or perceived.