Bullish on Iraqi Democracy

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Iraq can secure a better future after Hussein's departure, despite destruction and corruption of the state institutions by the departing regime. The key lies in one of Hussein's few positive legacies, carried over from previous regimes: a remarkably effective education system. This factor, plus extensive experience by the exile community, provides the capacity to re-establish viable institutions from the corrupted rubble of the old regime.

A democratic Iraq provides the only viable solution for the country's recovery. The widespread realisation of this imperative weighs heavily in favour of its chances for success.

So write Hussain Hindawi and John Thomson in The Australian.

One way or another, we'll be finding out whether they're right or wrong.

[Link courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily]

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  1. The status quo was OK in the ’70s? Sheesh. Lay off the acid. High inflation, Vietnam and Cambodia, long gas lines, the Iranian hostage crisis, the beginning of civil war in Beirut, etc., etc. Man, whatever are you talking about?

  2. So they will democratically vote themselves into a Theocracy?

    Whoop ti doooo!

    I’d apply for the post of benovelent dictator, but I’m way too busy.

    Bob

  3. no, not a democratic one, but a capitalistic one! i think they should appoint a woman to head iraq 😀

  4. I don’t know whether the establishment of democratic governance in Iraq will work…but it seems silly not to give it a whole-hearted try– after all, we have a kind of “Geneva Convention” responsibility to exercise some kind of authority there in the near-term, and blame-mongering can wait until some other time.
    Even critics of the war– if they honestly claim to enjoy some insight in the matter– ought to be able to contribute some constructive suggestions. Assuming they don’t just desire an administration failure, so they can scape-goat the neo-cons.
    I don’t think the democracy-skeptics have pondered the implications of failure in Iraq. If a new Iraq drifts into an anti-American theocracy, America will more likely adopt a sort of brutal imperialism, rather than the policies of, say, Nixon and Clinton. Americans will feel at least as threatened by the world as they did after 9/11, and less hopeful. They will be less likely to distinguish between autocrats and the cultures they dominate, if they assume the populations of Arab societies are viscerally attached, culturally and psychologically, to authoritarian models.
    Americans feel that something active needs to be done…and they are probably right (funny, how that happens in a democracy).
    It made sense to maintain the status quo in the 70’s and the 90’s– the status quo was acceptable, and departures from it didn’t seem particularly promising. It didn’t make sense to maintain the status quo in the 80’s, and it doesn’t now.

  5. Ray, I don’t think you are taking my point: I meant to say that American foreign policy was very restrained during most of the 70’s, and this made sende in the wake of the Vietnam debacle.

  6. Yeah. Manipulating events in Chile is a good example of Kissinger’s diplomacy, and Dr. Kissinger might have had the Persians and the Turks take care of Saddam. There wouldn’t have been a lot of talk about nation-building and democratic transformation.
    I think a lot of people are nostalgic for the less tumultous times. The 1930’s had plenty of nasty episodes…but it wasn’t a world war.
    The 1950’s offered plenty of drama…but it wasn’t Viet-Nam.
    The 1970’s was about detente and Mutually Assured Destruction…not the crumbling of the Berlin Wall.
    The 1990’s was filled with optional humanitarian interventions…but there was no way NOT to go to Afghanistan.
    Times change. There probably should be more than one Libertarian foreign policy, depending on what the other actors are up to. You can’t play all your music on one instrument.

  7. So you’re saying that the war in Iraq wasn’t optional, and that we had some sort of major war in the 1980s? I was aroud then. I don’t remember it. Grenada does not count as a major war. I still don’t get what you’re talking about.

  8. During *most* of the ’70s might be right. The ’70s *included* the final years of the Vietnam debacle and the Cambodian carpet bombing. The ITT-Kissinger involvement in Chilean affairs was a ’70s thing. So, in this case, the “status quo” at the beginning of the ’70s was a mostly aggressive foreign policy. “Status quo” doesn’t mean “peace” or “non-aggression,” it means “the existing condition or state of affairs.”

  9. It is the difference between periods when the United States was basically uninterested in changing societies overseas, and when the wisest course seemed to be to “change the playing field”. We created new societies in Germany and Japan (to our great benefit). We tried the same thing in Viet-Nam (to our undoing). Helsinki was essentially an attempt to live with communism– but Reagan promoted liberation. Clinton ignored the rise of Islamism (Somalia, Lebanon, several Al Q’aida attacks)– Bush has toppled two of its bases. I don’t think either approach is necessarily better…I suspect they inevitably spell each other.
    Over the course of the past century, freedom has made great strides on this planet, and some dangerous challenges to freedom have been overcome…but we have to live and prosper meanwhile as well.

  10. EMAIL: sespam@torba.com
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    DATE: 01/21/2004 10:46:46
    I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

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