Bush hasn't figured out the Middle East yet. Neither did Clinton, or Bush, or Reagan, or any U.S. President in history, or any civilization in the history of man's existence in the Fertile Crescent and surrounding areas. Nor has Africa been "solved." I for one, however, do not necessarily believe that democratically-elected representative government should be the immediate or even primary objective for these areas, and asking differing religious traditions to peacefully co-exist in the same place doesn't have what could reasonably be enthusiastically embraced as an encouraging track record, either. Where do we start then?
Simple: free speech/free press. However governments are elected or appointed or determined, and whatever the religious belief or economic system is, if I could have one rule, it would be that anyone could say whatever they wanted and write whatever they wanted without fear of reprisal or punishment or oppression, as long as it did not untruthfully harm anyone else. What this would accomplish is a situation where everyone would be aware of what was going on, and common human moral decency would be the unstoppable force that would do away with the "bad" and keep the "good" elements of the society in question. When attempting to analyze track records in human relations/worker treatment by Chinese mining companies or Indonesian shoe manufacturers, I believe one would quickly find that 1) it's not easy to do, and 2) it wouldn't be an enjoyable, feel-good process when faced with the realities of the situations. The only reason American companies are any better at all is because of the efforts of muckrakers who stirred up what really transpired behind the scenes in the unsafe sweatshops staffed by women and children, or the dangerous mines and oilfields and steel mills, or any of the myriad other transgressions of corporations pursuing profit at any cost and sacrifice, human included.
The only weapon the journalists/investigators had was freedom of speech and of the press; they could not force any company or politician to do anything. They had no weapons or militia or resources of any kind. But once the public was made aware of what really happened, they were the ones who demanded and caused change. Don't get me wrong: I'm fairly certain that many of these "newly enlightened citizens" were probably already well-informed about how things worked at some of these operations, but once it was out in the open and EVERYONE knew, and even more importantly, everyone KNEW that everyone knew, the influential ones had to take action to change things, lest they have taken action upon themselves by the outraged citizenry.
Boris Yeltsin supposedly opened up the Russian press to enjoy some short-lived freedom, but it wasn't in place for a long enough period of time to institutionalize any lasting reform. It's now been closed again by Vladimir Putin, and it may be quite a while before it once more sees the light of day. Governments can be democracies, monarchies, a combination of the two, or even "benevolent dictatorships", but what distinguishes the different societies and the quality of life that its citizens are able to experience are their freedoms, or lack thereof, to say what they wish, to expose what is going on, and to thereby allow their fellow man to take the appropriate enlightened action necessary to bring the state of affairs in line with what would universally be recognized as right and good. Conversely, without this lone, crucial freedom, even a democratic and representative government elected in the most fair method ever devised by man cannot result in a society that represents the best man has to offer, since people would be ignorant of the evils going on around them and powerless to do anything about it to mobilize correcting actions even if they WERE somehow aware of some atrocity somewhere.
Where does this leave us? I have to be encouraged by the existence of the internet, if nothing else. That alone gives people hope of exposing what is happening at any given time, any given place, even if no press or speech freedom is in place, in hopes that someone, anyone, will step up, do what's right, and fight (or simply negotiate) on behalf the oppressed little guy. It's how the Iraq conflict began, and it's how reform in China is slowly (albeit painfully slowly) reforming, and it's how America itself was born over 200 years ago: the cry of a free press, the call to arms to its citizenry, the plea for help from a stronger champion (France) in our hopeless struggle against an undefeatable oppressor (or at least bully, if "oppressor" is too strong a term for our British friends). It DOES work, it DOES take time, and it IS what we really need to be fighting for, even ahead of the objective of democratically-elected representative government.