Secretary of State Clinton has an op-ed out calling for a transition to democracy in Syria: "A speech, no matter how dutifully applauded by regime apologists, will not change the reality that the Syrian people, despite being told they live in a republic, have never had the opportunity to freely elect their leaders. These citizens want to see a real transition to democracy and a government that honors their universal rights and aspirations."
This is a rather nifty little embedded distinction: what's wrong in Syria isn't the lack of democracy ("never had the opportunity to freely elect their leaders") so much as the false advertising ("despite being told they live in a republic.") Maybe the Obama administration can put the Federal Trade Commission on the case. The distinction has the virtue (or disadvantage, depending on how one sees it) of answering the question, "Well, Mrs. Clinton, the people of Saudi Arabia (or Jordan) have never had the opportunity to freely elect their leaders, either. What about their universal rights?" She could say, well, no one ever told them they were living in a republic; Saudi Arabia and Jordan are kingdoms, not republics. On the other hand, what about the People's Republic of China?