A kitchen chair in front of a flat-screen TV may be a normal venue for watching the U.S. presidential election. But doing so with a well-educated Palestinian doctor in Doha, Qatar, was a little different.
As Mitt Romney conceded the election to President Barack Obama, Mohamed el-Zard glanced at the television: “Look at his smile.” He paused, teacup in hand, and then he lauded Gov. Romney for civilly and calmly congratulating President Obama. No accusations, no lawsuits, no violence. The election simply ended.
The U.S. system is so strong, he asserted, that the quiet close of Romney’s presidential challenge could have been foreseen 200 years ago. Democracy in the Middle East falls far short: “Look at Libya,” el-Zard said, and Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria. Regime change in those nations didn’t compare to America’s experience on Nov. 6. He blamed the difference on Arab governments and corrupt officials.