First, a preamble: The ideas herein may not be new. You’ve probably heard them before. I’m simply posting my take in the Middle East situation and seek to garner some discussion.
Ever since the United States of America gained status as the world’s sole military superpower, its government has maintained a foreign policy of usurping world leaders it deems “too dangerous to be in power” and replacing them with a democracy like ours [cite].
Now, I fully admit that I am no foreign policy or international relations expert. There are hundreds of people in the State Department who know far more than me. However, I have lived long enough and seen enough of our world policing to know that other cultures aren’t like ours by any stretch.
The culture of the Arab nations in particular could are far different from our own. These nations are made up of tribes, and its citizens are loyal only to their own tribes, not a national government. For most Middle Eastern nations, there’s little sense of national patriotism unless forced by the ruling party.
In contrast, during the Civil War, Americans generally moved from a sense of pride in one’s own state to that of the united states formed under one flag. The experiment in democracy worked for us, so we assumed it could be applied uniformly amongst all nations. Yet the War in Iraq is a prime example of how that assumption went horribly, horribly wrong.
If the United States government intends to depose “dangerous” rulers from the Middle East (whether this is right is another debate), it needs to abandon its policy of instituting one-size-fits-all democracy. Instead, a confederacy of tribal leaders meeting under a unified libertarian constitution should be instilled. The mostly autonomous tribes should have more power than the national governing body. In fact, the only business that should be handled by the national government would be concerns of building national roads, minting a secondary national currency, funding a national defense, and settling land disputes between tribes.
We need to base our nation-building policies on the receiving nation’s culture, not ours. The citizens of Arab nations are loyal first to their families, neighbors, and tribes. Wedging that square peg into the round hole of democracy will only end in governmental collapse and further inflammation of hostilities towards the U.S.