Saturday, January 20, 2007

Shamelessly Spreading Democracy Around the World

The American experiment in democracy continues and for us, it works pretty well. But, what works here North America doesn't work nearly as well elsewhere.


We have repeatedly tried to export our form of government with the major selling point being freedom for all. We ourselves are for the most part free to do whatever we like, but do we enjoy more freedom than those in countries that are less democratic? I think not.

On our small planet we have flags of many colors, a variety of religions, languages and customs so why would we think that our one style of government should be the "one size fits all" government for everyone else?

We have given it a good try, as we have exported our form of government for the last 100 years via any means possible, often by force. Our government has spread the good news about democracy, via propaganda radio, air dropped leaflets, armed invasions, blockades and sanctions. Sadly and for the most part these efforts have provide us with very limited success.

Vietnam, Korea, and China prior to the Boxer Revolution, are some of our past targets. Russia post USSR, and recently of course Afghanistan and Iraq. We have tried to introduce with only the smallest of success democracy a little closer to home, in Latin America. In most cases el Presidente equates to el general or supreme dictator rather than an elected official who serves a 4 year term.

Democratically elected officials of Central American countries should take notice. Just because we funded your campaign and helped you stay in power while fighting communist forces seeking to remove democracy from your small country. Don't think for a moment that we won't show up one day and arrest you, put you on a plane to the United States were you will simply disappear into our Federal Prison System.

It is of course painfully clear democracy will not work in Iraq. It was a bad idea to begin with because as we have discovered the only way to manage two groups whose hatred spans centuries is via a brutal dictatorship.

Advocates of democracy will point out that all industrial progressive nations are democracies. The truth is that many of the countries who are our closest allies are more socialist than capitalist, more republic than democracy.

The hard truth is most common people in Iraq liked things just the way they were. After all there were jobs, power, running water a transportation system, palaces, parks and most important no tanks, mass killings and bombings.

If you could ask the average Iraqi, I have a pretty good feeling he'd say it was better under Saddam and that the four years of American occupation has produced little if any benefit.

So what about us? What can Americans expect to gain from our commitment to Iraq? Keep in mind that this commitment means; the lives of our service men and women, billions of our tax dollars and of course exposing ourselves to the increased and continued threat of terrorist attacks.

Cold hard facts are that bringing democracy to Iraq will provide little in the way of regional stability and thus stable oil prices. Since we haven't laid claim to Iraq's oil fields and I think we should, we can expect pretty much nothing from our tax dollar investment.

Here's my rant. I think it's a little crazy that we are in Iraq today. We crushed the Iraqi army because we, right or wrong thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, possible nuclear or chemical weapons, that Saddam was part of the axis of evil and even a safe harbor for terrorists. As it turned out Saddam was just a tyrant running a pretty poor country whose residents for the most part are a bunch of armed fanatical extremists.

So why are we still there? Because, we are promoting democracy, a form of government which gives a voice to all citizens. That is pretty funny that here in our own country when according to a recent AP poll 73% of Americans favor an immediate and complete pull out of Iraq, our President continues to pursue his failed course of action.

Later this week our elected members of congress will vote on the war in Iraq. I expect it will be along party lines with a slight majority voting to condemn the President's war effort. Yet the average American, the 73% who oppose the continued war in Iraq voice will not be heard. So does democracy fail us as well?

I'm sure there are a lot of people quoting Einstein this week in a effort to have our President change his mind about the war,"insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result".

But I prefer a more laid back quote:

Mark Twain:

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then give up. There's no sense being a damn fool about it."

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