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Author Topic: Spreading Democracy - is it worth it?
Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted April 24, 2006 16:10      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As I understand the Big Idea™ that the neocons have introduced into US foreign policy under this administration is that the US in the limited time it has as the unchallenged superpower (before China alters the equation) should use this unique situation to make the world a better, more prosperous, and freer place, by working actively by all means, diplomatic, economic and if necessary military, to introduce democracy around the world, and especially in unstable and economically important places such as the Middle East. The theory is that as these democracies become stable and their citizens become wealthy and happy, this will in turn trigger homegrown democratic revolutions in neighbouring states, rather like what happened in Eastern Europe during the collapse of the USSR, leaving a lasting legacy of the US's period of unchallenged global supremacy. Given that we are now several years into this "project", I wonder how many of those who voted for Bush in 2004 still think democracy can be spread, and is such a magic cure all for the world's evils.

Consider for instance

The Weimar Republic was a democracy.

The UK is a reasonably mature and stable democracy, but in Northern Ireland we have been completely unable to persuade the two political parties to work together, and even though they have at least decided that they no longer want to bomb the place to hell, politics there is polarising into ever more intransigent extremes, and despite recent events demonstrating quite clearly how Sinn Fein/IRA has been perverted into a highly efficient and utterly ruthless corrupt Mafia style organisation, its electoral support has increased.

The election of Hammas in Palestine.

Even though it is no democracy, the widespread support enjoyed by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his convincing electoral victory over his more moderate opponent.

During his recent trip to Asia President Bush urged General Musharraf to press on with democratic reforms. If he does so he may have to take account of the fact that a recent opinion poll showed fewer than one in ten there support the US "war" on terror and that a majority believe the Taleban should not be persecuted.

And as for the democratically elected politicians in Iraq, well what can I say, they make Northern Ireland look good.

So do any of you Bush supporters still seriously think that this project will result in any new stable secure democracies anywhere in the world? Do you still think this should be the aim of US foreign policy? Do you think you can install a democracy, or is liberty something a people has to win for itself if it is to be long lasting? Naturally I could never see any justification for this, but are any of you on the right prepared yet to acknowledge this project as a busted flush.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

Posts: 2922 | From: Brighton - UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 24, 2006 16:17      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've been hearing on the news this weekend that Nepal's citizens were protesting to the king. They wanted him to bring back democracy.

Today Yahoo! News linked an article with a headline that proclaimed the king had reinstated parliament.

Does that qualify as a democracy? Somehow I don't think it does quite.

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YaYawoman

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Icon 1 posted April 24, 2006 17:43      Profile for YaYawoman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Calli. I have said previously in a thread long gone that as noble an idea as democracy is spreading it is impossible.

A true, robust, living and healthy democracy can only be formed by the people of the country that is forming a democracy. I firmly believe that an imposed democracy is doomed if not from the first election then eventually. That of course is just my opinion I could be very wrong. (I dont think I am though [Wink] )

To think we could sweep in with a topple here and reformation there and add a cup of water and stir: poof democracy was the craziest idea ever.

Posts: 766 | From: virginia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted April 25, 2006 18:07      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Cali,

The hunger for freedom has to be so strong that individuals in overwhelming numbers are not willling to live without being free.

This is so because if the desire for freedom is not that strong, then there is always somebody who is willing to bully a population out of it. We see some of this in Iraq today.

Paradoxically, perhaps, most true neo-conservatives have no combat experience, and therefore have never directly faced the consequences of the life-for-freedom equation; the true meaning off sacrificing for freedom is lost on them.

Colonel Panic

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ASM65816
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Icon 5 posted April 26, 2006 00:35      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe governments which use their populations as slave labor (*cough* China *cough*) and ones that promote the slaughter of their citizens (*cough* Darfur *cough*) are what the world needs. "Obviously," the people don't "hunger for freedom" enough to change their situation (even if it leaves them dead). [shake head]

quote:
April 25, 2006 18:07
the true meaning off sacrificing for freedom is lost on them.

Uh, yeah. Is the "true meaning" something like: "Just ignore them, they probably wanted to die anyway," or "I've got mine, too bad if they can't save themselves"?

quote:
April 24, 2006 17:43
I firmly believe that an imposed democracy is doomed if not from the first election then eventually.

"Nothing lasts forever." All governments are "doomed." The only question is how long they last. </cynical> Maybe George Orwell's 1984 is the perfect world state: Three governments act as checks and balances to each other, controlling the entire world, and oppressing all people.

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted April 26, 2006 00:46      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
Maybe governments which use their populations as slave labor (*cough* China *cough*) and ones that promote the slaughter of their citizens (*cough* Darfur *cough*) are what the world needs. "Obviously," the people don't "hunger for freedom" enough to change their situation (even if it leaves them dead). [shake head]


Although China is not as developed as the western world they do not use slave labor. Though you would not know it from watching western media, china is a very modern country. I am currently working with some colleuge of mine out of shanghia. Just becuase you could not live off of thier pay where you live does not mean they do not lead good lives. You could not live off of your salary here. One on the things driving the petrol prices so high is China's rapid development and need for raw materials. China has a hige growing middle class.

That being said slave labor does occur in south east asia. Just not in China, though I see how an american could confuse the two.

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Posts: 3093 | From: Switzerland | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted April 26, 2006 07:37      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Although China is not as developed as the western world they do not use slave labor.
Sorry... consider it more of a generalization. If I named some other countries, people might say "who? They're nobody."

EDIT:
United States:
Gross National Income (per capita) $33,070.30 per person
Budget > Revenues (per capita) $6,296.20 per person

Mexico:
Gross National Income (per capita) $5,178.76 per person
Budget > Revenues (per capita) $1,506.55 per person

China:
Gross National Income (per capita) $865.03 per person
Budget > Revenues (per capita) $243.36 per person

Technically, China doesn't use their people for slave labor, but they still have very low "wages." I imagine they place a fairly high value on education (for economic purposes), and I'd choose China over a lot of other nations ("totalitarian"/etc. states) for "quality of life."

Some say that the Tiananmen Square events (1989) are the reason China made many changes toward economic reform (letting the people enjoy a greater degree of wealth). The cultures of China and Japan are two that I respect above the vast majority of the world. I spent two years in Okinawa with the US Army. (FWIW)

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

Posts: 1035 | From: Third rock from sun. | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted April 26, 2006 07:58      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
EDIT: I forgot what the hell I meant to post here but it was just a repost of what I put down earlier.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

Posts: 3093 | From: Switzerland | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged


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