Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Iraqi democracy

Two good articles on Iraq and democracy.

First, Morton Kondracke argues that the Bush administration is right to push for January 30 elections.

"A delay would only reward the savage insurgents who want to reduce Iraq to utter chaos. What really counts is what happens after the election - whether majority Shiites treat minority Sunnis well and whether the Iraqi security forces fight for their country."
Exactly right. A delay will provoke an increase in violence as the butchers see encouraging results from their savagery. Kondracke also points out that the success of Iraqi democracy depends on how the Shiite majority that will be in power after the elections will treat their former masters, the majority Sunnis. I would add that the continued significant presence of the United States military will serve as an very effective guardian of the peace in the early days and months of the government.

Kondracke also takes former National Security advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski to task for counseling a naked sellout of Israeli interests to curry favor with Europe and the Arabs.

Second, Ralph Peters argues how democracy failed in Pakistan where tribal loyalties and corruption defeated democracy and the lessons to be learned for Iraq.

The two essential lessons are pertinent to Iraq.

• First, democracy faces an uphill struggle in tribal cultures where blood ties trump national interests.

• Second, democracy has no worse enemy than corruption.

If held on schedule, the Iraqi elections will be the most openly staged in the Arab world. But if Iraq cannot rise above the culture of corruption endemic to the region and cannot persuade Shiite and Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians and others to form political alliances that transcend ethnicity and religious identity, it's unlikely democracy will take root and endure.

The world doesn't need another Pakistan, where only bayonets hold the state together. If anyone dooms democracy in Iraq, it won't be the foreign terrorists, but a corrupt political elite. The politicians pave the way for the generals.
HT: Boortz

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