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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

here's hoping « Previous | |Next »
January 5, 2006

Well, we lefties can hope that the contradiction keeps working away like an old mole to deliver this scenario:


Maybe. Who knows? It is more likely to be a steady retreat based on things going well in Iraq, not domestic political considerations.

The contradiction is between the way the elections in Iraq have been portrayed as a sign of success for US policies in Iraq when in reality they in fact meant a tremendous triumph for the enemies of the US. Instead of establishing a pro-western secular democracy in a united Iraq, the December elections have ensured that Islamic fundamentalist movements are ever more powerful in both the Sunni and Shia communities.

Good oh. Isn't that what 'we' (the Coalition of the Willing) invaded Iraq for? To make help the nation of Iraq to make its first faltering stumbles along the path of liberal democracy after living years in the darkness under the Barthist totalitaranism of Saddam Hussein? Yeah, that's what Alexander Downer, Australia's foreign minister, keeps on saying to all and sundry.

Who is listening though? Anybody?

The reality, of course, is the triumph of a fundamentalist Shia-style Islam that is aligned with Iran and is anti-Israel. Aren't the former the enemies of the US? So what is the US response? Why not work towards the U.S. and Israel starting a war against Iran to prevent it from ever acquiring nuclear weapons. After all, wasn't a part of the US strategy for the war in Iraq to defend, develop and promote Israeli interests in the region?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:51 PM | | Comments (3)


There were elections when Hussein was in power too. The problem was they werent fair elections. He regularly got 100% of the vote.

We could have fixed Iraq by imposing our will and ensuring that there were fair elections where Hussein's political opponents could run without fear or intimidation. I reckon we could have achieved that objective for under 200 billion USD.

It is probably what we should do in Iran if we are genuine about transforming the region. At elast Iran has a history of reformists being politically involved.

who is the 'we' in your sentence 'We could have fixed Iraq by imposing 'our' will..'?As I understand it there was been serious concern and resistance to launching the Iraq war within some of the major branches of American government, including the State Department, the CIA, and (not least) senior echelons of the uniformed military in the Pentagon.

My response to your argument would be along the lines of this paragraph from this article:

American forces discovered they had destroyed a tyranny only to create a failed state.

The response of the Bush administration was to launch a program of "democratization," but the belief that democracy will bring stability is a delusion. When democracy spreads into countries containing populations that are long and deeply divided, the result is commonly that the state fragments. Iraq is divided not only by historic ethnic-religious enmities but also by rival claims to its oil reserves. In these conditions liberal democracy is a utopian project. A kind of democracy may be established, but it will be democracy Iranian-style—an Islamist version of Rousseau's illiberal dream.
The US has created a democracy in Iraq but it is democracy Iranian-style--not quite what the US went to war for.

America is facing strategic defeat in Iraq. I'm
not sure what that means for the region. What I am sure of is that American-backed regime change in Syria and Iran would still be widely perceived---throughout the region and much of the worl---as illegitimate.

Gary, By "we" I meant the complicit components of the Anglosphere, ie US, UK and Au. I dont believe the rhetoric of democracy. That was the feel good reason after the fear reasons (WMD). The letting out of breath after the sharp intake of air because Saddam was going to release mushroom clouds in NY.

Democracy is a component of both a client state and stable state, but the US destroyed the Iraqi institutions as soon as arriving. Which is not the path to stability.

Most despots seek some form of popular legitimacy and do it through rigged elections. They maintain the pretence of elections though, which is where they are weak. If the world can come up with some way to make elections fair in places like Zimbabwe etc, and ensure that the despots/tyrants political foes are not intimidated, then we would have far more democracy than we do now.

It would also save nations like Indonesia and Ukraine the turbulence they went through in order to finally impose the will of their people.