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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Nov 15, 2004.
Well pardon my candor but "no sh**".
Even Bell would be be impressed with how this outcome has been telegraphed.
With the Election over, and with Bush's subsequent "mandate", pretense is also getting the boot for the second term.
I'd think that the US would have to do something to sort of approximate an election in order to retain arguable legitmacy. I'm not sure what that something might be. A further "transfer of power"? An incorporation of some broad spectrum of leaders into some new power structure.
However, I'm not sure that delaying the elections is not a bad idea. Despite the rhetoric that "the insurgents are just trying to derail the transfer of power" and "the insurgents are just trying to derail the elections", realistic observers (whom one would hope are at least _advising_ our leadership) understand that the elections, just as the transfer of power did, will insite more rebellion than they will quell because they draw the lines between winners/gainers and losers. A great deal of attention needs to be paid to the design of the elections. A straight winner-take-all system (like ours) would leave a huge number of people really pissed off. But even barring that, elections, just as the transfer of power did, give the insurgency something more tangible to rebel against.
The US needs a lot of help here, and desperately needs a genuine attempt to understand what it is we are dealing with.
Maybe it was 2005 in the Moslem calendar...
Another 600-odd years to sort it out.
Again, pardon my candor, but doesn't this again point to a wholesale denial by the US to the very viability of a Democratic Iraq?
As I have said before, although the Iraqis may deserve Democracy as much as anyone else, they may not be prepared for it.
A recent look at Democratization points to some interesting trends:
In Eastern Europe, with the collapse of the USSR, most if not all of the countries developed a functioning Democratic system with little prodding or assistance. Many have already progressed far enough to enter the EU.
This is largely due to a Cultural Legacy they share with the rest of Europe and the West. These include participation in the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and all of the other developments that led to the concepts of Rule of Law and Liberty etc. In many cases, it was only direct Soviet Intervention/suppression that prohibited their previous Democratization. Czechoslovakia is/was a prime example of this.
In the Balkans, the bag is more mixed. Democracy has a tenous foothold in many of the countries, and is much more rife with corruption when present. Those countries, like Romania, which were largely under the Ottaman yoke, fare particularily poorly. There is just not the same history.
Russia, also not privy to the Western Cultural Development, also fares poorly with the Democratic experiment.
The ME, also once under the Ottoman Yoke, also seems poorly suited to Western-style Democracy, perhaps even more so, due to location and History. Turkey only managed to acheive Democracy by complete Cultural overhaul and aggressive secularization and Western emulation. That took a generation. Even now, w/o the military's, the Democracy would probably quickly crumble.
We are so quick to disparage Authoritarianism, due to it's obvious shortcomings, but little thought seems to be given as to whether it is actually appropriate or not. There are many Authoritarian Regimes around the world, and I feel to some degree they are a necessary response to a population's needs - stability, order, leadership etc.
So when I hear talk of delayed Iraqi Elections, it just reminds me of the error of the NeoCon strategy of exporting Democracy w/o any regard to context. So unless the Elections are going to be delayed until 2032, it is all bullsh** anyway. Even if you do not agree with the Cultural Determinism I have briefly touched upon above, you may agree that Iraq does not have a sufficient level of unity, common purpose, infrastructure (economic or political) or sense of self (not including against us) to acheive real Democracy.
This is all PR crap to appease our domestic sensibilities and parlay that into power and legitimacy for other purposes by those who govern.
Sorry, this morning I am particularily disgusted with the continuation of this farce of a War, which might be sadly comical if it were not for the fact that many lives are being ruined or lost unneccessarily and that the bill will be left for our children.
To those who comment on the general evilness of Hussein and the moral imperative to rid the world of his despotic leadership, I would say, "well, of course" but I also wish that the world was better in a million ways, and that people were not such a**holes. Wishing so, and having it be a moral wish, does not mean that acting on such a wish without regard to it's viability, relevance or consequences will be a good thing.
End Rant. So Sorry.
It's important to understand what is meant by democracy in these various contexts. Outwardly, it is premised on "free and fair" elections, but the US isn't going to all this trouble to export an electoral process. What is meant by democracy in the neocon sense of the world is free markets, propertry rights, and a government that regulates the monetary system while allowing unfettered investment. It's democracy in the economic sense of liberalization, and has little to do with democracy in the sense of rule by the people.
Two very good posts.
Yeah I don't know if a Jan. vote is the best thing for Iraq. This election cannot be poorly planned or executed. It seems to me that in order to be successful it will have to provide for an adequate amount of power sharing between all the disparate factions. Without that, popular resistance will continue.
The problem is, that probably involves allowing some Islamic party to have power. Will Bush allow a free and fair election to produce that result? Or does Iraq's new leader have to toe any line we put for them?
I am not sure I buy this explanation. PR aside, plenty of money could've been made dealing with Saddam and indeed, was made during his tenure. Market liberalization and property rights were not absent either.
Besides,you do not see Singapore being mentioned as an example of NeoCon Democracy.
If you wanted to go this route of explanation, it may be that this is all a sham for a plan to allow US economic interests priority over all others. This is not a freer or more Liberal Market situation either.
In any case, w/o stability there is none of this to be had. So it would appear to be stupid on so many levels...
Under Sadaam, the oil and all substantial businesses were owned by the government of Iraq. It was a completely illiberal market (restrictions on trade, etc.) and there were minimal property rights (in terms of foreign companies being able to buy property). Under the new rules established while Bremer was still in charge and made unchangable, foreign companies can be 100% owners of Iraqi companies. Also, import tarriffs have been banned. I think there are some restrictions on ownership of the oil industry, since signing that over to Haliburton would have been a little too obvious. There was money to be made with Sadaam in power (although France and Russia had more of those contracts), but, to paraphrase Chris Rock, I ain't talking rich, I'm talking wealthy.
As for singapore, you also don't see the neocons talking about ho it needs to make democratic reforms.
However, I agree I am oversimplifying. Economics is not the only ideology guiding these decisions. Perhaps far from it.
Thanks for the clarification(s).
How any of this benefits Iraqis, however, I haven't a clue.
Wow. This has been my privately-held position for a long time, but I thought that expressing it would make me sound like even more of a jerk than I actually am.
I do appreciate the sentiments of some regading the war, with regards to ending Saddam's reign of terror and so forth, but I'm just not all that optimisitic that the Iraqis will know what to do with democracy once it's established (if it's established).
I think we all know what kind of a comment that is.
There are many different interpretations and constructions of democracy. Iran is a democracy. The Soviet Union was a democracy (ideologically embodying the idea of democracy as rule _for_ the people), and many Russians consider the USSR to have been more democratic than the current RF. Ancient Athens was a democracy, yet most of the population was not included in the "people" who had power. The U.S. is a democracy where people cede power to their representatives. And so on.
milo, I am slowly sinking into a morass of semantics and relativism.
To further comment, I must ask by what standards is a country democratic? Do they merely need the trappings (eg Parliament, President, Senate etc) to qualify? Do they merely need to espouse a populist ideology?
In any case, there is a deliberate deceit being foisted on the American public on the nature of our intervention in Iraq. Are we even Democratic?
I vaguely remember a quote regarding information (or access to) being the lifeblood of a Democracy...I believe it was Jefferson or Madison (or a contemporary).
BTW, Lyle, I have long since stopped pretending that I am not a jerk...
The entire concept of national elections in Iraq at this point is a complete and utter farce. Even ignoring for the moment the persistent level of violence, the country seems to lack even the minimal level of cohesion and purpose that make elections useful exercises. The focus at this point should be on holding local elections in the relatively stable parts of the country where they can be run freely and fairly. Let Iraqis choose who collects the trash and provides the water in their own communities. Local government is the political institution that's closest to the people in any event, and if successfully established, could provide the foundation for future national elections. As per usual, the Bushistas have the entire process turned on its head. IMO, they are 180 degrees off course.
I couldn't agree more. Start small. Build up. Otherwise the process is meaningless (not to mention impossible).
What kind of a comment do you think it is (since "we all know")?
or the japanese, where, iirc, the current year is 16.
to paraphrase a line from Life of Brian about dictators, like Saddam, being able to keep order, "let's face it, he's the only one who could in a place like this."
mmm, that's a good question. to me, it means that the everyday person can, under the laws of the land, effect positive change. further, that just about everyone has a voice through representation.
by my own definition, the US isn't much of democracy anymore.
lots o' good discussion in this thread. am really enjoying it.