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On pre-emption and premature "democracy"

Reader comment on item: Defending and Advancing Freedom

Submitted by john h. rubel (United States), Nov 8, 2005 at 14:24

1. "Pre-emption" has proved possible when one nation has launched a military attack against another--Israel vs. Egypt et al in 1967 is a classic example

2. But "pre-emption" against a virtually global, amorphous, religiously inspired and affiliated movement animated by anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, anti-modernity and modernism, with radical Islamists in dozens of countries, presents a wholly different and unique set of circumstances and obstacles to classical military pre-emption.

3. While many Americans have bought the Bush line that "it is better to fight them there than here at home," created a failing state in Iraq that attracts both insurgency and a variety of forms of terrorism animated by religious differences, anti-Americanism, a desire for martyrdom by suicide bombers and other motivations not easily countered by "counter-insurgency," now appears to have focussed, amplified and created radicalism and terrorism in the region, at present mostly in Iraq itself. Looking ahead, it seems grimly unpromising.

4. As for "democracy:" electoral democracy is extremely dangerous in backward places where public perceptions have evolved that are most UNFAVORABLE to the establishment or even the development of modern, contemporary, liberal civil societies.

5.We do well to remember: Vikings invaded the British Isles for centuries. They conquered more than half the country. Out of the social and economic dynamics there, Western style liberal, constitutional government evolved, elaborated in the US. Vikings also conquered much of Russia. The first Czar of Russia was a Swede, so was his empress. Yet the path of Russia down the corridors of history has been vastly different from that of the English speaking peoples.

6.No Middle Eastern country is even close to the preconditions for Western style "democracy." They are all too poor, too profoundly religious, wedded to group politics far too closely, accustomed to the uniquely inferior role of women whose "liberation" threatens the male members of every Islamic household, handicapped by tribal identities and closely consanguinal marriage, with only authoritarian antecendents as models and norms for conceiving new patterns. Introducing electoral democracy into such an environment can lead to even worse instabilities, now backed up by massive group-think and the "will" of "the people." Algeria is only one recent, very dark example of just that.
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