The trouble with the West imposing demoracy...

…is that the people might vote for someone the West isn’t going to like:

I’m making a presumption that Musharraf is more useful to the West than a coalition of religion-based parties. In fact, if Musharraf is voted out, it could have very negative effects on US involvement in Afghanistan, and South Asia in general.

Of course I know that the West didn’t impose it in this particular case, but this may prove to be a cautionary tale - post Gulf War II, we may see secular Iraq democractially voting in an Islamist government.

In strategic terms - should the West be imposing/encouraging democracy on other countries?

Question: could it be worse for us? I mean, its not like Iraq is some enobled representation of American-MidEast cooperation.

and hey the US got to elect Bush Jnr. Why can’t other countries learn by their mistakes aswell :stuck_out_tongue:

In strategic terms we should not impose democracy, but should foster governments that will allow democracy to evolve naturally. i.e. we should promote governments that will promote business and human rights, and education, and stability, which will allow a middle class to form and foreign investers to feel safe. Then the transition to democratic rule can happen when the country is ready for it. How to do this? I have no idea.

Brutal dictators are bad, but democracy can be just as bad when the country is not ready for it.

One reason we are hated so bad in Arab countries is that we support oppressive governments* and don’t support the idea of democracy. Rhum Runner is correct saying that we should make it possible for democracies to evolve, not impose them.
[sup]*Saudi Arabia for example[/sup]


Did anyone confuse “democracy” and “pro-US”?

If so, please read a paper…

Democracy is not as easy as just deciding to hold elections. It requires building all sorts of civic institutions, social habits, trust, and even interlocking economic interests to make it work. Countless numbers of countries have decided to become “democracies” simply by holding an election… and then fallen apart a few weeks later. It’s just not that simple.

It took Taiwan, for instance, decades to transition reasonably peacefully from one-party rule to a neonatal democracy. Before the KMT took over, Taiwan actually held reasonably democratic elections. But the country was in chaos within weeks. It just didn’t take. The KMT’s rule afterwards was undemocratic, to be sure, but it began to set up the stability and civic connections needed to make democracy work. Their one-party elections were a sham, but only at first: in retrospect they look like so many practice runs: getting people used to the idea of participation without giving them tons of power all at once. And the KMT’s rule, though sometimes brutal, over many years had the effect of converging many of the disparate interests into a few sectors that were at least unfied enough to tolerate each other when the chips come down: the KMT chopped off the extremists, promoted the moderates, and thus made political debate much more about the center than revolutionary fringes looking to take over and change everything.

—One reason we are hated so bad in Arab countries is that we support oppressive governments* and don’t support the idea of democracy.—

Well, we’ve probably overturned more elected governments than any other country in history. It’s hard to make the case that we are unequivocal champions of democracy. We certainly aren’t going to hold elections among foriengers who are affected by our international polices before we impose those policies on them. That’s, at heart, completely undemocratic. It’s a reality of realpolitik in the world today: but we can at least be honest about that, instead of pretending that we promote the ideals of democracy in every situation.