Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Imposed Democracy Will Never Succeed

Iraqi voters bravely risked their lives in an inspiring collective act of courage in the recent election. In turn, the United States should act in good faith and fulfill promises of liberation. If the goal of this effort is truly to establish the foundation for a working democracy in Iraq and not to facilitate the veiled appointment of a puppet regime, then the United States should be prepared to honor the results and soon withdraw militarily.

Many Iraqis probably dreamt of this moment, but few likely anticipated that it would come in this fashion. Weakened by years of sanctions and Stalinist tactics, most Iraqis were more concerned with ensuring their next meal than in overthrowing a long entrenched dictator. But, throughout their struggle, some likely maintained faith that a revolution would come. It took great courage to participate in an election largely orchestrated by what most view as an occupying power. When the promise of democracy came, however flawed a process as it may in reality be, many Iraqis seized the opportunity to make a difference in charting a new course for a long suffering nation.

Similarly, the United States has an opportunity to chart a new course. In the past, we ousted elected leaders in Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Chile and Vietnam, among others. When the people chose to elect leaders whom we ideologically opposed, or viewed as a threat to our own national interests (usually economic), we installed our own hand picked "leaders". I hope that we do not undermine the votes of those who risked their lives in this case.

Ideally, the Iraqi voters will choose a leader that serves their best interests and one that can work with the international community, including the United States. However, it is unlikely that this process will go completely smoothly. A large faction of the Iraqi electorate largely boycotted the election. The Sunni Muslim minority, which ruled the country for centuries, has not embraced the process and it will be difficult to avert future ethnic conflict in the region.

I passionately hope that the Shiite majority does not wield their newfound political power in a democratic "reign of terror" against minority ethnic groups in the region. Democracy surely does not preclude this from happening. After all, when two wolves and a chicken vote on what's for dinner, the outcome is all too clear. Perhaps after decades of recent oppression they can seize the opportunity to start anew and avoid the cycle of political violence. Maybe they will choose a leader that can unite Iraq and regain its strength. In the end, the choice is largely theirs to make. The United States should honor its rhetoric and allow them to create their own destiny.


Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

Bush owes the homefront 12,000 troops.

Troop strength was increased by 12,000 immediately following the election in November in order to provide security for this past weekend's election. That election is over - it's time for 12,000 to come home.

If 12,000 are not to be sent home then an explicit statement explaining the reason for not doing so is necessary immediately.

10:11 AM  

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