March 30, 2005

So Who Wants to Be the Boot On the People's Neck

Democracy's nasty surprises talks about supposed difficulties in helping Democracy come to the Middle East. Amitai Etzioni is quoted saying how "[Democracy] is not something that can be learned overnight, or acquired like membership of a club; it is a system that evolved over centuries of sometimes violent struggle." That's all well and good but applying that theory to the Middle East means that we are obliged to install a series of slightly less repressive tyrannies and assume responsibility for their bloody acts of repression.

We've been doing that for half a century now, aiming for "stability" in the Middle East and pleading with the tyrants we support to get on a gradual path towards liberalization. The result is that we were the object of hatred and a convenient scapegoat used all over the region by those self-same tyrants. 9/11 is the fruit of that effort and I think we should pass on further "fruits" of that strategy.

But there is no history, no comparison with the reality of 50 years of US policy "realism" with the current few years of democracy promotion "idealism", it's just a long sneer in the IHT about how the neoconservative "debating trick" is unfair, that the people of the Middle East are going to elect Hitlers. Isn't it funny that the Hitler's writings were nowhere more popular than in the Middle East during the decades of stability promotion with tepid US efforts at encouraging gradual reform?

To avoid an elected Hitler, we helped usher in Hitlers without elections. What an improvement! It's a shameful episode in the US' history and I'm glad it's drawing to a close.

Posted by TMLutas at March 30, 2005 01:28 PM