Here is the latest from Chirac:

“There is no ready-made formula for democracy readily transposable from one country to another. Democracy is not a method, it is a culture. For democracy to take root solidly and durably in the Arab world, it must be an Arab democracy before all else.”

I think he is right. I remember learning in history class that you could always tell which country ran a colony prior to the colony’s independence. The British colonies usually maintained strong democratic roots and the French colonies were always overrun by corrupt despots.

The government cultures were different and it showed in the way the colonists ran things.