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The Growth of Democracy

Reader comment on item: The Roots of Iraq's Rebellion

Submitted by Val Shkolnikov (United States), Apr 15, 2004 at 00:31

Mr. Pipes,
I disagree with your idea of a strongman in Iraq. You are essentially saying the democracy would not work there, and cite the ages of history.
Well, in my opinion there is really no need to educate people about democracy, as there is no need to educate them about capitalism, as there is no need to educate them about freedom. These same things were said about Japan which had a long, long history of clans and warlords. The democracy in Germany, did not take hold overnight after defeat in WWII as you suggest. There were "wolf gangs" for three years afterwards.
So the history and resistance is one thing but understanding freedom is another. Frankly, who could have predicted the fairly peaceful disintegration of the Soviet Union? No other than Pres. Bush, Senior, who was afraid of Ukraine separation from USSR. He thought things wouldl go out of control. And yet democracy, albeit admittedly with a great degree of corruption, proved to be stable in all those splinters of the old SU.
I think that Arabs... in the end want the same thing every one else does: to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and peace. Somewhere they know it can be achieved only if there is a government that works for them, not the other way around. A strongman will always need enemies to keep himself in power. And there is nothing wrong with Iraq splitting up along the seams, the parts will survive.

Regards,
-Val
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