""These elections are a joke," Juan Cole, a professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan, told Reuters. Sorry, professor, the joke's on you. And the modern Middle East history is being made by the fledgling democracy of the new Iraq."
Not a joke, but not 'all that' either. I think both sides are making too much of this election. Elections are a psychological boost, especially to a people who have been under the thumb of tyrants. The left should not make light of their importance. Sometimes just the knowledge that conditions can improve will give strong impetus for them to do so.
On the other hand, electing new leaders doesn't solve all problems. In many, perhaps most cases, people will be unhappy with the new leaders chosen, and many of the new leaders will be just as corrupt as the old. Another problem is many of the civil institutions older democratic countries take for granted, do not exist in Iraq or if they do, work only marginally.
It's simply too early to tell if democracy will be permanent in Iraq. The only thing for certain is that there will be continued violence, and that US troops will be stationed there for a very long time to come.
Twenty to thirty years would be my guess, but then we are still in Japan, Korea, and Germany, not to mention Kosovo and Bosnia, so it could be considerably longer.
posted on 01/31/2005 8:20:34 AM PST
It's simply too early to tell if democracy will be permanent in Iraq.
I must reluctantly agree. The hard part starts now. They must now get down to the business of writing the constitution, and how it is structured will make all the difference. The greatest danger is that the resulting government becomes a standard third-world corrupt kleptocracy, and the Iraqi people turn to extremism. If Iraq turns out like South America, where there was a democratic revolution followed by economic collapse and nostalgia for authoritarian rule in many countries, Iraq's ability to serve as a beacon for the rest of the Arab world will be correspondingly diminished.
For the record, I don't think that's the most likely outcome, and you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the pictures of the last few days. Furthermore, Afghanistan has gone quite well so far. But there is still difficult work ahead building a self-governing society surrounded by a bunch of rulers for life all threatened by Iraqi success, and thus many pitfalls yet to overcome. What they do now that they've had the elections is as important as having had them to begin with.
"It's simply too early to tell if democracy will be permanent in Iraq. The only thing for certain is that there will be continued violence, and that US troops will be stationed there for a very long time to come."
There's no such "certainty."
The day after their successful elections has just ended over in Iraq with no new civilian fatalities. The terrorists just went a day without a new bombing...and frankly, they weren't setting off very many of those bombs even before the elections (as a general rule of thumb, if you can count the number of mortars, mines, IEDs, and rounds that your enemy is firing, it ain't much of a war).
They've lost. How much fight remains in them is hardly "certain."
posted on 01/31/2005 11:37:32 AM PST
(Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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