Would the United States prefer authoritarian regimes or Islamists winning power through elections?
Mead: I think the best example is Turkey where power is now exercised by an Islamic government which won through elections. The United States maintains excellent relations with Turkey. Despite the fact that Ankara does not agree with the U.S. on many issues, such as the war on Iraq, the relationship has not been affected and has maintained its good level. It is important to know that the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party is Muslim, but it is a political party and not a militia! It believes in attaining power through peaceful means and elections and continues to do so even after reaching power. On the other hand, there are some Islamic parties that see elections as a mean to reach power and when they do so, they reject democracy. Therefore, in the U.S. we say that these parties are “one-man, one-vote, one-time” parties. I think that the answer to your question is that the U.S. will not have problems dealing with Islamic parties which won’t resort to violence if they lose elec