Thursday, February 10, 2005


The Strategy of Democracy

Democracy as a revolutionary agent of change is not a new approach for the Bush Administration. Derek Reveron, in "Go-Go Iraq" in the National Review Online refers to the 2002 National Security Strategy, in which:
"President Bush gave primacy to human dignity: 'These values of freedom are
right and true for every person, in every society — and the duty of
protecting these values against their enemies is the common calling of
freedom-loving people across the globe and across the ages.'"

Reveron also notes that social-science research actually supports the proposition that democracies are inherantly more stable and conducive to mutual security than any viable alternatives:

"Those that insist U.S. policies of political imperialism underlie the
Administration's efforts should only look at how democracy was promoted in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Two very different approaches to democracy were used in
two very different places. A Loya Jirga was convened to launch Afghan
democratization. Or the Iraqi legislature was elected by voting for party lists,
not individual candidates as in the United States. The United States is flexible
enough and experienced enough with democracy to guide democratization in a way
that it will take root according to local conditions."

And as any student of the Old and New Testaments can attest, there are forces at work in the absence of democratic institutions that create the chaos and violence prevalent in non-democratic societies:

"The key to maintaining stability and peace appears to lie in democratic institutions. Democracy promotes open competition of ideas, channels dissent into peaceful discourse, and constrains power-hungry tendencies (Recall Madison: If men were angels government wouldn't be necessary). Democracy provides for the
peaceful resolution of conflict. Without the means to express grievances, violence will likely occur and authoritarian governments will fail.

"Data shouldn't necessarily drive policy choices, but there is clear evidence to support President Bush's efforts to energize democracy promotion. Bad governance in Iraq kept Iraqis impoverished, vulnerable, and afraid. Supporters and detractors of the war agree on that. When we forget that, we should remember the name of the military operation's name: Iraqi Freedom. Though WMDs were the rationale for war, the military campaign has been about freedom since day one. And when the mission is accomplished and Iraqis are free, the world will not only be a better place without the Iraqi dictator, but because there is another democracy in the world."

Read the whole thing.

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