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Why are we encouraging democracy in the Middle East?

Kandahar

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This question is mainly for neoconservatives, but also applies to any internationalist liberals who see nation-building as an inherent good:

Why in the hell should we be encouraging Arab nations to become more democratic? Neoconservatives want American hegemony and the triumph of liberal values, yet encourage democratic methods that ensure anti-American thugs will take power. Many neoconservatives will not acknowledge that Iraq is a sectarian state on the verge of civil war, but point to triumphs of sectarianism as evidence of the "success of democracy" as though that was inherently a good thing in itself. (To their credit, some neoconservatives have begun to rethink this strategy in the last year.)

The Cold War is over. Why should promotion of democracy still be the end goal of American foreign policy? This is a recipe for disaster.
 

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Kandahar said:
This question is mainly for neoconservatives, but also applies to any internationalist liberals who see nation-building as an inherent good:

Why in the hell should we be encouraging Arab nations to become more democratic? Neoconservatives want American hegemony and the triumph of liberal values, yet encourage democratic methods that ensure anti-American thugs will take power. Many neoconservatives will not acknowledge that Iraq is a sectarian state on the verge of civil war, but point to triumphs of sectarianism as evidence of the "success of democracy" as though that was inherently a good thing in itself. (To their credit, some neoconservatives have begun to rethink this strategy in the last year.)

The Cold War is over. Why should promotion of democracy still be the end goal of American foreign policy? This is a recipe for disaster.

Because the status quo has given rise to Islamic Radicalism. America's encouragement of "stability" has been a problem in the last forty years in the Middle East.
 

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Kandahar said:
This question is mainly for neoconservatives, but also applies to any internationalist liberals who see nation-building as an inherent good:

Why in the hell should we be encouraging Arab nations to become more democratic? Neoconservatives want American hegemony and the triumph of liberal values, yet encourage democratic methods that ensure anti-American thugs will take power. Many neoconservatives will not acknowledge that Iraq is a sectarian state on the verge of civil war, but point to triumphs of sectarianism as evidence of the "success of democracy" as though that was inherently a good thing in itself. (To their credit, some neoconservatives have begun to rethink this strategy in the last year.)

The Cold War is over. Why should promotion of democracy still be the end goal of American foreign policy? This is a recipe for disaster.

Depends on how we promote Democracy. I maintain that we can promote it by cultural exchanges, and other peaceful methods. Whether the Middle East can accept these efforts or not is there choice. All we can do is to show by example that Democracy is a good thing, and let them run with the ball if they choose to do so.

However, attempting to force Democracy at the barrel of a gun is......

How did you put it?

A recipe for disaster. I agree with you completely.
 

Kandahar

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GySgt said:
Because the status quo has given rise to Islamic Radicalism. America's encouragement of "stability" has been a problem in the last forty years in the Middle East.

OK, but democracy isn't the only alternative to stability. Why not encourage more pro-American regimes? Islamic radicalism isn't a product of the status quo, it's a product of certain leadership. Saddam Hussein, Muommar Qadaffi, Hosni Mubarak, Bashar Assad, Yasser Arafat, and Pervez Musharraf were able to keep their Islamist radicals at bay (with varying degrees of success).
 

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Kandahar said:
OK, but democracy isn't the only alternative to stability. Why not encourage more pro-American regimes? Islamic radicalism isn't a product of the status quo, it's a product of certain leadership. Saddam Hussein, Muommar Qadaffi, Hosni Mubarak, Bashar Assad, Yasser Arafat, and Pervez Musharraf were able to keep their Islamist radicals at bay (with varying degrees of success).


Find one in the Middle East. Our pro-American regimes of the past in the Middle East have turned out to be simple dictators. I will defend America to my last drop of living blood, but I will look reality in the face. The Middle East is decayed and people like Bin Laden, Hussein, Qudaffi, Mubarak, Arafat, Musharraf, and Ahmadinejad are symptoms.

The Cold War deformed American strategic thought and our applied values beyond recognition. From the amoral defender of Europe's rotten empires, we descended to an immoral propping up of every soulless dictator who preferred our payments to those offered by Moscow. We utterly rejected our professed values, consistently struggling against genuine national liberation movements because we saw the hand of Moscow wherever a poor man reached out for food or asked for dignity. At our worst in the Middle East, we unreservedly supported--or enthroned--medieval despots who suppressed popular liberalization efforts, thus driving moderate dissidents into the arms of fanatics. From our diplomatic personnel held hostage in Iran a generation ago, to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, we have suffered for our support of repressive, "stable" regimes that radicalized their own impoverished citizens. In the interests of stability, we looked the other way while secret police tortured and shabby armies massacred their own people, from Iran to Guatemala. (The ousting of Saddam was an act in defiance against that "Old Europe" mentality of maintining stability above all else.)

Were we only to apply our own professed ideals where it is rational and possible to do so, we would, indeed, find our way to a better, safer world in time. But we must stop trying to arrest the decomposition of empire's legacy. We are in a period of unprecedented and inevitable global change, and we must learn to accommodate and to help shape local changes constructively. But we cannot prevent the future from arriving.

Democracy is a highly evolved mechanism for maintaining the society we have achieved, but it is not a tool for creating a society worth maintaining. Without good and respected laws, a commitment to essential human rights, and the willingness to honor differences of birth and confession, democracy is just a con game for bullies. Democracy as we know it also may require a certain level of popular affluence. But democracy alone will not bring affluence. Weak, new governments, or those transforming themselves, need training wheels on the bicycle of state, and we try to insist instead that every government should jump on a Harley (their are lessons to be learned from that most endangered state, Pakistan, that should be applied to Iraq). Far from building trust, democracy may shatter the remaining social bonds of weak or brutalized societies, dividing survivors into ethnic or religious factions. The over-hasty imposition of democracy can lead directly to a degeneration in the respect for human rights. Where citizens have not learned to value their collective interests, democracy intensifies ethnic and religious polarization. Democracy must be earned and learned. It cannot be decreed from without.
 

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It is good to promote democracy in the middle east. In the short term there is a chance that "Hamas" type things will occur. When you have a situation like Egypt, the dictatorship runs against the Muslim Brotherhood. Someone has to win, neither good really for the U.S..

It may be best to go at this very slowly. This way the Muslim Brotherhood does not all of a sudden control billions of dollars of U.S. made arms that are in Egypt. That we have given or sold to them.

Another thing to consider is Islam itself. The system of Islamic Law is outside the norms of the West. It is very controlling. It's requirements kill the heart of individual freedom.
 

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Kandahar said:
This question is mainly for neoconservatives, but also applies to any internationalist liberals who see nation-building as an inherent good:

Why in the hell should we be encouraging Arab nations to become more democratic? Neoconservatives want American hegemony and the triumph of liberal values, yet encourage democratic methods that ensure anti-American thugs will take power. Many neoconservatives will not acknowledge that Iraq is a sectarian state on the verge of civil war, but point to triumphs of sectarianism as evidence of the "success of democracy" as though that was inherently a good thing in itself. (To their credit, some neoconservatives have begun to rethink this strategy in the last year.)

The Cold War is over. Why should promotion of democracy still be the end goal of American foreign policy? This is a recipe for disaster.

Because we at least owe them that much, we have all filled our pockets from their nations oil resources, are we just to leave them to the dogs? I know they like their golden palaces, but don't we owe them something, I mean they do fill our gas guzzling SUV's, should they be left with nothing when the well runs dry? I realize that many in power could care less, but I do, and I want these people to contribute, and thrive as much as any other people! F**k this idea that these people are not worth it, f**k anyone who even suggests that........that said, f**k this ridiculous, arrogant, insensitive thread!:mad:
 

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mike49 said:
It is good to promote democracy in the middle east. In the short term there is a chance that "Hamas" type things will occur. When you have a situation like Egypt, the dictatorship runs against the Muslim Brotherhood. Someone has to win, neither good really for the U.S..

It may be best to go at this very slowly. This way the Muslim Brotherhood does not all of a sudden control billions of dollars of U.S. made arms that are in Egypt. That we have given or sold to them.

Another thing to consider is Islam itself. The system of Islamic Law is outside the norms of the West. It is very controlling. It's requirements kill the heart of individual freedom.
And here is the irony. Is it freedom to voluntarily limit your own freedom? And is it promoting Democratic principles to fight against what the majority of a nation has chosen of their own free will?
 

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danarhea said:
And here is the irony. Is it freedom to voluntarily limit your own freedom? And is it promoting Democratic principles to fight against what the majority of a nation has chosen of their own free will?


:roll: Your freedoms are fine whiner. Name one thing where your freedoms have been infringed upon. Name one thing regarding your personal freedoms that has been altered since 2003. (This is ussually where people's grandstanding falls apart.)

The majority of Germany applauded the Nazi Party too. It is not always acceptable to simply bow to the majority. Besides that, the majority are the Kurds and Shi'ite...not the fraction of Sunni fighters who are clinging to the old order of inequality or the insurgency who are pretending to "free" the Iraqi peopple from "American tyranny."
 

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GySgt said:
The majority of Germany applauded the Nazi Party too. It is not always acceptable to simply bow to the majority. Besides that, the majority are the Kurds and Shi'ite...not the fraction of Sunni fighters who are clinging to the old order of inequality or the insurgency who are pretending to "free" the Iraqi peopple from "American tyranny."


That said, let's bring our boys home, it's time we step away from this conflict, and let the new armed Iraqi's resolve this issue!
 

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Deegan said:
That said, let's bring our boys home, it's time we step away from this conflict, and let the new armed Iraqi's resolve this issue!


Sooner than people think.

We have almost done all we can do. This summer will have concluded about 75 percent of a fully trained Iraqi military. If they succumb to civil war, it will be of their own natural design. We cannot be involved with that.

Remember, the success or failure of Iraq will say more about this civilization than it does about American might (A civil war between Shi'ites and Sunni does not mean failure). We provided the bike. It's up to them to take off the training wheels. We need the Muslim world to see Iraq as a success. The people of Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are watching. They all want their freedom and to live under a democracy.
 
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danarhea said:
And here is the irony. Is it freedom to voluntarily limit your own freedom? And is it promoting Democratic principles to fight against what the majority of a nation has chosen of their own free will?

Yes, but the main purpose of this is to prevent future attacks. Changing them may prevent attacks from groups within those countries. Thats the official line.

However, it really is based on a fantasy more than a reality. We were attacked not because we support dictators, but because we support those who would prevent Taliban type regimes from gaining power. We were not supporting the dictators they wanted us to support. They did not attack us because they wanted freedom for their people. Al Qaeda looks at the U.S. as the "head" of some evil conglomerate. Taking out one part of that does no good. They want to take us out and then the rest will have to fail.

So, whatever change happens over there, it will have no effect on our enemies. I see us in a no win situation with democracy in the middle east. It is a fantasy.
 

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GySgt said:
Sooner than people think.

We have almost done all we can do. This summer will have concluded about 75 percent of a fully trained Iraqi military. If they succumb to civil war, it will be of their own natural design. We cannot be involved with that.

Remember, the success or failure of Iraq will say more about this civilization than it does about American might. We provided the bike. It's up to them to take off the training wheels.

God bless those soldiers, they gave their all for those who could not do for themselves, I am so proud of our boys over there, it's time they felt that love, and that appreciation!
 

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Deegan said:
Because we at least owe them that much, we have all filled our pockets from their nations oil resources, are we just to leave them to the dogs? I know they like their golden palaces, but don't we owe them something, I mean they do fill our gas guzzling SUV's, should they be left with nothing when the well runs dry? I realize that many in power could care less, but I do, and I want these people to contribute, and thrive as much as any other people! F**k this idea that these people are not worth it, f**k anyone who even suggests that........that said, f**k this ridiculous, arrogant, insensitive thread!:mad:

See, this post makes several emotionally-charged faulty assumptions...indeed the very assumptions that I was asking about in the original post.

If we "owe them" democracy and they'll be "left with nothing" if we don't encourage democracy, that assumes that democracy is an inherent good in all cases. What do you think is more brutal: Hosni Mubarak's autocracy or the Islamic Brotherhood? Pervez Musharraf's junta or al-Qaeda? Mahmoud Abbas' kleptocracy or Hamas? The Saudi monarchy or the Taliban-like government that would emerge from democratic elections?

You also assume that they will "thrive" if the Americans don't "leave them to the dogs" and grant them the oh-so-wonderful gift of democracy. Have you looked at the political platforms of most of the leading democratic movements in the Middle East? They're basically advocating war, socialism, xenophobia, subjugation of women, and isolationism. Hardly a recipe for success.

There's an old Arab saying: "Better a century of tyranny than an hour of anarchy." Far from thinking they aren't worth it, we simply need to consider which is the lesser of two evils. In the case of most Middle Eastern countries, they (and America) will be worse off if they have democracy.
 

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GySgt said:
Find one in the Middle East. Our pro-American regimes of the past in the Middle East have turned out to be simple dictators. I will defend America to my last drop of living blood, but I will look reality in the face. The Middle East is decayed and people like Bin Laden, Hussein, Qudaffi, Mubarak, Arafat, Musharraf, and Ahmadinejad are symptoms.

Oh I don't disagree that it's decayed, but I don't see how promoting democracy (read: promoting Islamism) is going to solve that problem. It's going to exacerbate it.

GySgt said:
The Cold War deformed American strategic thought and our applied values beyond recognition. From the amoral defender of Europe's rotten empires, we descended to an immoral propping up of every soulless dictator who preferred our payments to those offered by Moscow. We utterly rejected our professed values, consistently struggling against genuine national liberation movements because we saw the hand of Moscow wherever a poor man reached out for food or asked for dignity.

It's one thing to encourage democratic movements when the people genuinely want to be more free. It's another to encourage democratic movements knowing full well that Islamists will cynically use them as a vehicle to gain power and then deny people freedom that most don't want anyway.

GySgt said:
At our worst in the Middle East, we unreservedly supported--or enthroned--medieval despots who suppressed popular liberalization efforts, thus driving moderate dissidents into the arms of fanatics. From our diplomatic personnel held hostage in Iran a generation ago, to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, we have suffered for our support of repressive, "stable" regimes that radicalized their own impoverished citizens.

OK, but how is this problem solved by supporting repressive, *democratic* regimes that radicalize their own impoverished citizens?

GySgt said:
In the interests of stability, we looked the other way while secret police tortured and shabby armies massacred their own people, from Iran to Guatemala. (The ousting of Saddam was an act in defiance against that "Old Europe" mentality of maintining stability above all else.)

And would a democratic, Islamist government in a sectarian nation be less likely to massacre "them" to protect "us", than a dictator would?

GySgt said:
Were we only to apply our own professed ideals where it is rational and possible to do so, we would, indeed, find our way to a better, safer world in time. But we must stop trying to arrest the decomposition of empire's legacy. We are in a period of unprecedented and inevitable global change, and we must learn to accommodate and to help shape local changes constructively. But we cannot prevent the future from arriving.

This smacks of a nearly religious conviction that liberal democracy will eventually prevail over all other forms of government as an inherent good. I don't see how that is anything other than wishful thinking.

GySgt said:
Democracy is a highly evolved mechanism for maintaining the society we have achieved, but it is not a tool for creating a society worth maintaining. Without good and respected laws, a commitment to essential human rights, and the willingness to honor differences of birth and confession, democracy is just a con game for bullies. Democracy as we know it also may require a certain level of popular affluence. But democracy alone will not bring affluence. Weak, new governments, or those transforming themselves, need training wheels on the bicycle of state, and we try to insist instead that every government should jump on a Harley (their are lessons to be learned from that most endangered state, Pakistan, that should be applied to Iraq). Far from building trust, democracy may shatter the remaining social bonds of weak or brutalized societies, dividing survivors into ethnic or religious factions. The over-hasty imposition of democracy can lead directly to a degeneration in the respect for human rights. Where citizens have not learned to value their collective interests, democracy intensifies ethnic and religious polarization. Democracy must be earned and learned. It cannot be decreed from without.

Now there's something we can agree on. ;)
 

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Kandahar said:
Now there's something we can agree on. ;)


Then you'll also agree that our frenzied pace to create a democracy in Iraq has been at the pace of the general American complaining that we haven't waved the magic wand yet. There is no snap answer, no magic wand, to plant a democracy in a geography that knew nothing but blood letting and torture under Saddam Hussein and a region full of fanatic leaders who have had an entire history perfecting their oppression.

We need to recognize that we are currently trying to help people that do not know how to live without the abuse and oppressions that they were so used to and that Iraq is made up of people that see "tribe" above "country." (See Pakistan.)
 

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GySgt said:
Then you'll also agree that our frenzied pace to create a democracy in Iraq has been at the pace of the general American complaining that we haven't waved the magic wand yet. There is no snap answer, no magic wand, to plant a democracy in a geography that knew nothing but blood letting and torture under Saddam Hussein and a region full of fanatic leaders who have had an entire history perfecting their oppression.

We need to recognize that we are currently trying to help people that do not know how to live without the abuse and oppressions that they were so used to and that Iraq is made up of people that see "tribe" above "country." (See Pakistan.)

Yes, we're trying to help people, but that doesn't mean that we're succeeding. As you said, Iraqis place tribe above country, and the election results have deepened this sectarian divide. I see no way that Iraq can survive as a unified nation without an authoritarian thug to hold it together.

You're right that there's no magic wand to plant democracy in the region...but I don't see why that's necessarily desirable in the first place. Aside from the obvious point that American military power and financial generosity are not infinite, I see no reason to expect a democracy to respect the rights of its people any more than a dictatorship would.
 

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Kandahar said:
See, this post makes several emotionally-charged faulty assumptions...indeed the very assumptions that I was asking about in the original post.

If we "owe them" democracy and they'll be "left with nothing" if we don't encourage democracy, that assumes that democracy is an inherent good in all cases. What do you think is more brutal: Hosni Mubarak's autocracy or the Islamic Brotherhood? Pervez Musharraf's junta or al-Qaeda? Mahmoud Abbas' kleptocracy or Hamas? The Saudi monarchy or the Taliban-like government that would emerge from democratic elections?

You also assume that they will "thrive" if the Americans don't "leave them to the dogs" and grant them the oh-so-wonderful gift of democracy. Have you looked at the political platforms of most of the leading democratic movements in the Middle East? They're basically advocating war, socialism, xenophobia, subjugation of women, and isolationism. Hardly a recipe for success.

There's an old Arab saying: "Better a century of tyranny than an hour of anarchy." Far from thinking they aren't worth it, we simply need to consider which is the lesser of two evils. In the case of most Middle Eastern countries, they (and America) will be worse off if they have democracy.

I apologize for my angry words, but I will not apologize for my strong feelings in the belief of democracy for all, even if it means a theocracy as the next step. Because it is indeed democracy that will allow for the change that will eventually be needed when that system fails, as it will, one day. Iran is an example of a theocracy on it's way out. The people of this country are tiring of it, the world is certainly alarmed by it, and I hope the people will one day rise up. Still, to suggest that these people are not rational enough to make their own decisions in a democratic system, or that they need a babysitter/dictator to control the animals from themselves, this is an ignorant, and arrogant message to send!
 

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Kandahar said:
Yes, we're trying to help people, but that doesn't mean that we're succeeding. As you said, Iraqis place tribe above country, and the election results have deepened this sectarian divide. I see no way that Iraq can survive as a unified nation without an authoritarian thug to hold it together.

You're right that there's no magic wand to plant democracy in the region...but I don't see why that's necessarily desirable in the first place. Aside from the obvious point that American military power and financial generosity are not infinite, I see no reason to expect a democracy to respect the rights of its people any more than a dictatorship would.

Despite the risk of death, Iraqis of every background came out to vote on two separate significant occasions last year. Despite the fear and the grim picture being painted on the situation in Iraq, the terrorists proved powerless to halt the country's progress. Despite the murder and the terror to instill deep fear upon people who would be free, the Iraqi people continue to send a clear mission to Islam’s most perverted adherents and the Arab elite throughout the region. Never before in the Arab world have a country's citizens been permitted to vote on the laws that would govern them. Even if Iraq must endure further blood shed, this is a historic moment in the Middle East. Perhaps a civil war is the ingredient to a whole Iraq. It was ours. Perhaps they will never learn to let go of their bigotries and hatreds towards each other and Iraq will be split in three....

1) To the north we would have Kurdistan and with it the northern oil fields.
2) To the south we would have the Shi'ites and with it the southern oil fields.
3) In the middle we would have the Sunni Triangle and with it no oil fields.

Somehow, I don't think the Sunni will approve.

No matter what, we will not see the democracy in Iraq that we would want to see, but a democracy none the less. Any form of government that would allow for a freer society (like Jordan), will open the door to the future and to progress.
 
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Deegan said:
I apologize for my angry words, but I will not apologize for my strong feelings in the belief of democracy for all, even if it means a theocracy as the next step. Because it is indeed democracy that will allow for the change that will eventually be needed when that system fails, as it will, one day. Iran is an example of a theocracy on it's way out. The people of this country are tiring of it, the world is certainly alarmed by it, and I hope the people will one day rise up. Still, to suggest that these people are not rational enough to make their own decisions in a democratic system, or that they need a babysitter/dictator to control the animals from themselves, this is an ignorant, and arrogant message to send!

Arrogant? Perhaps. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Some societies simply ARE too irrational to make their own decisions. Iran is the sole exception in that part of the world. But just because the Iranians finally got sick of their incompetent system of government doesn't mean that all societies will. For an analogy, look at Latin America, where they've democratically elected irresponsible governments for several decades now. In Russia, they democratically elected a president who is determined to make Russia less free and less democratic.

I see no reason to assume that societies will automatically get sick of their governments just because we want them to, and democratically vote them out of office, especially in the Arab world. In a society that values martyrdom above progress, what makes you think that they'll measure the success of their governments the same way that we do? What makes you think that the Islamists will continue to hold fair democratic elections after sweeping to power in the Arab world?
 

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GySgt said:
Despite the risk of death, Iraqis of every background came out to vote on two separate significant occasions last year. Despite the fear and the grim picture being painted on the situation in Iraq, the terrorists proved powerless to halt the country's progress.

This already assumes that I agree with you that democratic elections automatically constitute "progress," regardless of the results.

Yes, they came out to vote...for sectarian Islamists.

GySgt said:
Despite the murder and the terror to instill deep fear upon people who would be free, the Iraqi people continue to send a clear mission to Islam’s most perverted adherents and the Arab elite throughout the region.

That message seems to be "Stop killing Shiite civilians, or we'll retaliate by killing Sunni civilians."

GySgt said:
Never before in the Arab world have a country's citizens been permitted to vote on the laws that would govern them. Even if Iraq must endure further blood shed, this is a historic moment in the Middle East. Perhaps a civil war is the ingredient to a whole Iraq. It was ours. Perhaps they will never learn to let go of their bigotries and hatreds towards each other and Iraq will be split in three....

1) To the north we would have Kurdistan and with it the northern oil fields.
2) To the south we would have the Shi'ites and with it the southern oil fields.
3) In the middle we would have the Sunni Triangle and with it no oil fields.

Somehow, I don't think the Sunni will approve.

Splitting Iraq in three would certainly be a better solution than the mess we have now, but even so I don't see any reason to encourage democracy in any of the three countries (maybe Kurdistan). That'll eliminate the sectarian problem, but it won't eliminate the problem that most Iraqis are simply too uneducated to have the slightest idea what policies are good for them.

GySgt said:
No matter what, we will not see the democracy in Iraq that we would want to see, but a democracy none the less. Any form of government that would allow for a freer society (like Jordan), will open the door to the future and to progress.

This brings up a good point. In Jordan we have a relatively liberal dictatorship, but certainly not a democracy by any definition. This form of government seems much better suited to helping the Arab world progress, than Islamist democracies.
 

Deegan

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Kandahar said:
Arrogant? Perhaps. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Some societies simply ARE too irrational to make their own decisions. Iran is the sole exception in that part of the world. But just because the Iranians finally got sick of their incompetent system of government doesn't mean that all societies will. For an analogy, look at Latin America, where they've democratically elected irresponsible governments for several decades now. In Russia, they democratically elected a president who is determined to make Russia less free and less democratic.

I see no reason to assume that societies will automatically get sick of their governments just because we want them to, and democratically vote them out of office, especially in the Arab world. In a society that values martyrdom above progress, what makes you think that they'll measure the success of their governments the same way that we do? What makes you think that the Islamists will continue to hold fair democratic elections after sweeping to power in the Arab world?

I certainly see the angle you are taking on this, I myself have agreed with your position before, i.e Pakistan. I thought it was probably a good thing for Musharraf to hold power, to keep the radical elements from coming to any real power. That said, they still do have the power, only not in a governmental way, but they certainly dictate the rule of law in that country. I have to ask, am I being selfish, only wanting it to remain this way, and because it is in my countries best interest? I have found the answer to be a resounding YES! I am selfish, I am being short sighted, and I don't see that these religious factions already have the reigns, they are just not elected as of yet. I believe with elections come accountability, just as witnessed with the examples you have given, and they will continue to do so. But to not allow these ideas to go forward, how can they ever realize the error in their way? This is the question I ask myself, it's not just a romantic ideal I have, it comes from more then pure emotion, it comes from what history has taught us all!
 

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It's about stability.

Democracies don't fight each other.

Which would you prefer in 50 years or whenever the oil runs out?

A middle east where there are a billion or so people who are absolutely dirt poor, have no marketable resources, absurd amounts of guns/bombs/nukes, and autocratic governments that despise the west and see us as the source for all their problems.

or

A middle east where there are a billion or so people, an average mix from rich to poor, have a diverse economy, less guns/bombs/nukes, and democratic governments that are beholden to their peoples best interests, which would be to trade with us, not attack us.
 

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Kandahar said:
That message seems to be "Stop killing Shiite civilians, or we'll retaliate by killing Sunni civilians."

In case you haven't noticed, from Sudan, to Syria, to Saudi Arabia, and to Iraq the tyrants are the Sunni.

Kandahar said:
Splitting Iraq in three would certainly be a better solution than the mess we have now, but even so I don't see any reason to encourage democracy in any of the three countries (maybe Kurdistan). That'll eliminate the sectarian problem, but it won't eliminate the problem that most Iraqis are simply too uneducated to have the slightest idea what policies are good for them.

Their future is their own hands. Our problem (present of future) was Saddam. We did the right thing by sticking around to make sure they weren't taken over by the next dictator. If they fail to get along, then they fail themselves.


Kandahar said:
This brings up a good point. In Jordan we have a relatively liberal dictatorship, but certainly not a democracy by any definition. This form of government seems much better suited to helping the Arab world progress, than Islamist democracies.

King Abdullah 2 is a wise man. He has publicy stated that he wishes his government to become a democracy. He has stated that the Middle East must change if it is to compete on the same level as the rest of the civilized world. He is very well aware of what the ruined societies in his region have bred. I see Jordan as the next Britain. They too maintain a traditional Monarch, however, they are a democracy.

The problem with the Middle East is Islam. Our age happens to be a losing era for Islam, when its functionality as a mundane organizing tool has decayed in much of the world—just as European Christianity had done by the beginning of the 16th century. Until these people are able to seperate their religion from their governmentship they will remain stagnate.
 

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I just want to tell you all what an interesting, thoughtful and thought provoking thread this is. It's a pleasure to see a discussion like this here. I haven't been here for long, but I was beginning to think this forum was only about partisan bashing. Keep up the good work. :smile:
 
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