"Exporting Democracy" Makes Many in GOP Nervous

Even as it presents an updated national security strategy, the Bush administration is facing fresh doubts from some Republicans who say its emphasis on promoting democracy around the world has come at the expense of protecting other American interests.


Nadir said...

"You cannot in my opinion just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy," said Senator Hagel.

Paul Hue said...

I remain far from 100% convinced that Bush made a smart move by invading Iraq. And I am 100% that he made some mistakes, with turture high on that list. The quote from Hagel is perhaps correct, but it is also perhaps racist, at least for those of us who believe that "democracy" represents the highest form of civilization, the "end point" of history, wherein people govern themselves and have freedom to own their own thoughts and expressions.

Nadir said...

Racist? I don't think it's a racist statement.

The people of Iraq do not have a history or culture or Western style democracy. Islam is very democratic on certain levels, very authoritarian on others.

But in my opinion, true democracy would be to have the right to pick the type of rule you prefer. My Chaldean accountant, who proudly displays his degree from the University of Baghdad in his office, said the people of Iraq should have a king. He felt that was the most appropriate form of government for the people there.

He was also very happy that the US invaded and deposed Saddam. He hates Saddam passionately, and left Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. But he also feels that once the US kicked Saddam out, they should have left.

Paul Hue said...

The problem with the US going in, destroying the baathists, and the leaving is that the leftists had already criticized them harshly for doing something similar in Afgahnistan, which led to the taliban.

"People choosing their own govt" is democracy, or at least one crucial part of it. Using this freedom to end democracy is what most people with such power have done before, most famously with Germans in the 1930s. The Venezuelens may have done this now.

A people electing to have a king are, in my opinion, backwards people living with an unsophisticated mindset.

Nadir said...

The Venezuelans have the most democratically elected leader in the world as he has been elected three times and had the people in the street demanding his reinstatment after a coup. You have no argument on which to deny that Chavez has been kept in power by his people. His movement to bring more social programs may be a sore spot with you, but obviously his people want that, and that is what makes Venezuela a democracy.

And there you go calling people backward and primative. That is the thing that proves your cultural bias or racism over and over again.

I've never read a complaint from you about Britain's monarchy. Why would you dismiss that form of government outright and call a very intelligent person whom you don't know "backwards" and "living with an unsophisticated mindset"? He happens to know the Iraqi people better than you do. He is Iraqi!

Your elitist attitude is really fucked up.

Paul Hue said...

I spit on the british monarchy. I would never bow to any of them if I met them, or refer to them by their royal titles. I am fully anti-monarch. I never say anything about them because they are largely powerless; to the extent that they have any power, I abhor them. People interested in them for their pagentry are, in my judgement, backwards and unsophisticated. Name me any royal family on this earth, and I will sign-on for any name you wish to call them.

Your accountant friend may even be as educated and intelligent as Paul Wolfowitz or Rumsfeld, people you have denounced as even worse than "backwards and unsophisticated." Your friend has one view of Iraq. Other Iraqis have other views. Some even have my view about democracy and freedom. Everyone with a view on Iraq can trot out an Iraqi who agrees with them. You say that the US should never have invaded in the first place, with contradicts what the accountant wishes. Does he not know better than you?

Are Iranians so lame that they need you to protect them and their ideas from criticism, labeling all of it elitist and racist? What about Chalibi and the names that you have called him? Does that make you elitist and racist? Does Chalabi not know better than you what is best for Iraq?

And what of your very harsh critisms of your good, educated, and intelligent friend Paul? Are they not even harsher than "backwards" and "unsophisticated"? Does that make you racist and elitist for denouncing my views for my own country?

The very notion of kings and royalty was one of the original mechanisms for human social organization. It is by definition backwards and unsophisticated in 2006. By definition it caps the freedom of all, as power becomes a birthrite, and ascention to power for the powerless may occur only through violence.

Will you protect me from criticisms by your Iraqi friend? If he views my advocacy of freedom and democracy as barbaric, will you label him a racist and an elitist?

Or are *you* racist, because you only label my criticism of his view as "racist" because you (1) catagorize into different "races" and (2) will only use this word to decribe criticisms made by members of one of these races against the other (but not for criticisms that go the other way)?

And are you paternalistic and patronizing, protecting Iraqis from criticism, (and racist, because you would not do this for members of other races, and hypocritical because you have yourself harshly criticized the Iraqi Chalabi)?

Nadir said...

I criticize people based on their actions and words. I do not call them "backwards" or "unsophisticated" because I don't take an elitist view of the world. I don't think I am better than anyone else, and I don't think my opinions are inherentl better than any other person's opinions.

I have a right to my opinion as you have a right to yours and Ahmed Chalabi has a right to his. I would never dismiss your point of view as backward and unsophisticated.

I am not protecting anyone from criticism. I am criticizing you because you are an elitist who believes others are "primitive" because their opinions are different from yours.

You have no understanding of Iraqi culture just like I don't. What I know about is US culture, and as a citizen here with an understanding of US history and foreign policy. I can divine the motives of neocons partially based on their actions and partially based on their words.

You and I disagree about those motives. That's fine. But don't call me backward or unsophisticated because I disagree with you. And don't call another person primitive because you think you are so advanced. Past societies have been more advanced in areas of social justice, egalitarianism and spirituality than this present age.

You are cut from the same cloth as the missionaries who thought they were doing indigenous people a favor by converting them to Christianity. But in the end you would lord over them and take advantage of them because you think you know better than they how to run their countries.

I say, leave those people alone. Live and let live.

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: How do you feel about slavery? Is it backwards and unsophisticated? How about as practiced today in certain regions of Africa?

What about forced clitoris amputation?

What about stoning a woman to death as an official sentance for committing adultry (wheather via forced rape or wild abandon)?

Do any ideas on this earth qualify as backwards? As unsophisticated?

Are potty jokes unsophisticated?

Haven't you called my jokes "childish"? What is the difference between unsophisticated and childish?

What about racism itself? Is it backwards? Unsophisticated?

How about Bush responding to 911 and Huessein's voilations of the 1992 cease fire? Was Bush's reaction unsophisticated? Was it backwards? Afterall, you say that it's a form of imperialism and colonialism.

Is imperialism backwards and unsophisticated? What about colonialism?

What about missionary work, which you devine that I would practice in bygone days (and then lord over the people I've saved!). And what about lording over people? Is that backwards and unsophisticated?

Speaking of "lording", you use that term derisively. Yet you objected to me charactorising having a royal family lord over Iraq as backwards and unsophisticated. So what is it, is royalty a backwards and unsophisticated form of government or not? Or, is it only backwards and unsophisticated if an "outsider" crowns himself? If this is the case, then all the African kingdoms were backwards and unsophisticated as they all involved conquering foriegn lands and people.

Paul Hue said...

I am certainly nervous about applying the Bush doctrine to Syria, Iran, and North Korea. I certainly didn't think that the Iraqi invasion would cost the US 4,000 lives, involve torture, and three years later have civil war and lack of Iraq's oil operating at full capacity. But I am open to the Iraq invasion succeeding, and very much hope that it does.