Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top Down Democratic Strategy Doesn't Work


Robert Baer illustrates the fallacy of the top down strategy for enforcing democracy. While I think he's overstating the WMD threat from both Iran and Pakistan his essay provides a concise analysis of the hopeless cause of the enforcement of democratic ideals in states or territories (read Palestine for example) that simply haven't got the requisite foundation to realize a stable, democratic system.

Benazir Bhutto's assassination Thursday should put a bitter end to the Bush Administration's misguided policy of shoving democracy down the throat of the Middle East and Muslim world. Since 9/11 there has not been a single country in that region that has had peaceful and successful elections. Hamas's victory in Gaza, the stalemate in Lebanon, elections in Iraq and now Pakistan — none of them have led to the stability, modernity and civil society this Administration promised us.
The common denominator between Pakistan, Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq is an ongoing war, wars without end, wars that poison democracy. The Bush Administration is particularly culpable in creating the chaos in Pakistan because it forced a premature reconciliation between President Musharraf and Bhutto; it forced Musharraf to lift martial law; it showered money on Musharraf to fight a war that was never popular in Pakistan. The Administration could not understand that it can't have both in Pakistan — a democracy and a war on terrorism...

And as we've seen in the Palestinian territories (and in Lebanon) be careful for what you wish for. Democracy as we know it and democracy in practice have been shown to be two completely different elements.

"The passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason without constraint..." Alexander Hamilton.

The realization of national stability and the enactment of democratic reform very likely follow one another. The popular fallacy, however, lies in the order in which they do so.

3 comments:

Dan tdaxp said...

"The realization of national stability and the enactment of democratic reform very likely follow one another. The popular fallacy, however, lies in the order in which they do so."

The Arab regimes have had national stability for one or two generations.

Some humility is required here: we don't know what is wrong with the Muslim world. But whatever it is, it's a killer.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Gentlemen,
The best thing I've read on this subject is "The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad" by Fareed Zakaria. (sp?) I'm writing this on a boat, Internet is slow, or I'd give an Amazon Link.
Zakaria gives a great breakdown of the term "Liberal Democracy". Hitler was elected by a Democracy that wasn't Liberal. There are semi-benevolent Dictatorships that are more liberal and tolerant than some Democracies.
It's the book that I wish George W. had read prior to going into Iraq. The author writes for Newsweek, and you can plow through it in a couple of hours.
He also tackles "Classical Liberalism" vs. whatever form of Liberalism that the word "Progressive" recently replaced.

subadei said...

"Some humility is required here: we don't know what is wrong with the Muslim world."

And it's simply not fashionable to lay much of the blame on their governance through religion.

WS, thanks for book suggestion. I've enjoyed much of Zakaria's journalism.