Sunday, August 06, 2006

Democracy A Reflection of The Public, for better or worse

Democracy is a reflection of the public at large. But, what if the general public of a country is intolerant, hateful and narrow-minded? This is something the Neo-Cons seem to have forgotten.
Democracy is more than just elections. It is a value system of inclusion, tolerance, reason and compromise. Without these nessacary values, democracy becomes a sham. One can only look at the election of Hamas and Hexbollah to see what elections without democratic values look like.
And it’s foolhardy to think that a people can be bombed into embracing democratic values. The direction of the Arab world, for better or for worse, can only be determined by the Arabs themselves.
The neo-cons still confuse the war on terror with WW II and the Cold War. In the previous global conflicts, the people we were at war with had an essentially Western value system. Therefore, they were more able to embrace Western style democracy. This is not so with much of the Arab world, where the concept of "democracy" is different than what the Western world is used too.
Most of the citizenry in Western Europe after WW II and of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union wanted Jeffersonian democracy as well as a tolerant, pluralistic society.
This may not be the case with many Arabs and Muslims. There tends to be less regard for these ideals among the citizenry.
This, to a great extent, explains the grisly aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam. Many people in Iraq have little concept of pluralism, peaceful co-existence or compromise. And because of this, a civil war is all but inevitable.
Now these discredited neo-cons think we should join with Israel and launch military attacks against Syria and Iran. This is a profoundly idiotic idea. Not only are America’s forces over stretched, but if would only turn more Muslims and Arabs against us. This would only undermine the battle for the hearts and minds of the region.
To be sure, the recent spate of violence in the Middle East can be blamed on the aggressions of Hezbollah. But, elimating such extremists from the area is not without risks and could even backfire.
For Israel, this is a no win situation. If they were to show restraint, the extremists would only get more missiles and launch them. If they continue their attacks, it may only destabilize and radicalize the Arabs in the region.
Israel might be more virtuous than its neighbors, but that doesn’t guarantee its survival.


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