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How Little We have Learned

Reader comment on item: [Samuel Huntington and] American Purposes In Iraq

Submitted by David Harris (Canada), Apr 27, 2004 at 15:37

Some 35 years ago when I was a graduate student in comparative politics the discipline was strongly influenced by the behaviourist school of thinkers led by such scholars as Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba. Here political cultures were categorised according to the actual operation of whatever institutions existed and the attitudes which influenced them. To actually try to transfer one set of institutions to another setting was therefore seen to involve cultural analysis as an essential preliminary stage so as to explore the value/culture compatibility of this proposed host environment to these new institutions. One does not need to go beyond the TV screen showing chanting mobs to see the futility of America's current policy of democratization in Iraq. How futile, how little we have learned.

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