March 21, 2006

Less Democracy Is Better?

That's what this Kostard seems to think:
There are so many things rotten to the core in this Bush-Republican crew that it's challenging to isolate a single rancid item out of the ideological compost. The motives, the rationale, the conduct of team GOP is all swirled together into a corrupt morass that grows more loathsome everyday. But one particularly blighted refrain, dutifully trotted out when Bush is stumping for his war, is the implication that "Democracies are peaceful", or "Democracies don't attack one another".

And like so many neocon soundbites it's comically inaccurate, even when applied to the US: The Union and the Confederacy in the US Civil War were both democracies; The US and Britain overthrew a democratically elected government and installed the Shah of Iran in 1953; The US funded the contras as an insurgency against the democratic sovereign nation of Nicaragua. Not only do democracies attack each other from time-to-time, there can be a rationale for why it's in their interests to do so, regardless if one accepts that rationale or not.

More over, democracies are intended to be representative governments; the leaders are elected by the people and ostensibly the elected leaders then carry out the wishes of same. If a significant percentage of the electorate happens to hate our guts or are distrustful of the US, then perhaps we shouldn't be caught off guard if they elect leaders that hate our guts and/or are distrustful of the US. And that outcome won't be changed by more elections; you could have elections every damn month, with jubilant voters waving purple fingers to the cameras, and you'd just have more people elected who hate our guts. Kick the Germans out of France in 1945 and you get a friendly democracy. Kick the Saudi Royal Family out of power in modern day Saudi Arabia and set up a free democracy, and the people might just elect Osama bin Laden.

The 'democracy is on the march' refrain is simply a meme designed to take the heat off of the WH for making the biggest, costliest, bloodiest, foreign policy blunder in almost half a century. But taking the heat off over here won't solve the problems over there. Because wars are not won with rhetoric, no matter how catchy it may be.
The same could be said for the opposition, that catchy slogans, empty phrases, and rhyming platitudes--not to mention bumper sticker logic combined with redundant chanting--hardly constitute a kernel of an idea of a notion that this war is illegal, immoral, or illegitimate (the whole lies canard). Democracy is messy, and sometimes we get undesirable results, like Hitler's parliamentary victory. However, what is the alternative to democratically elected representative governments? Surely this commenter doesn't support dictatorships of any kind--unless perhaps they are socialist dictatorships where benevolent autocrats enact the "will of the people (see Cuba, Venezuela).


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