Monday, September 13

DO THEY WANT WHAT WE WANT?

The notion of transforming the Middle East, and the policy of westernizing a centuries old Iraqi tribal culture to become a Western liberal democracy is cultural, if not imperial, hubris.

Do they really want what we want?

The people of the region are a long way from Western notions of constitutional liberalism, or the process of democracy itself. If provided with the process itself, devoid of constitutional liberalism, the people of the Middle East would elect a religious dictatorship; for Middle Eastern Islamic theocracies are, at the very least, indigenous--if not the actual natural will of the people.

(Try putting that in your "We the People" pipe and smoking it.)

Allies like Russia have no history of democracy either. Many Russians, in the wake of Chechen terrorism, have openly pined for Stalin; our neighbour Mexico, is a corrupt narco-economy more than a democracy. Nor is there "democracy" in much of the rest of the world.

But democratic-lack has never been an impediment to cooperation. In fact, tinpot dictators are preferred by the West.

When Americans use the word "democracy", it is usually code for acquiescence. Just as much of the world, when they hear the word "globalization", they also hear "monocultural".

What about the successful models of democratic imposition: Japan and Germany?

Japan and Germany were rebuilt as consumer markets and as bulwarks against Communism. There was the specific need, in the case of Japan, to contain the Soviet Pacific fleet at Vladivostok and to protect the Pacific sea lanes. In the case of Germany, America needed to save Europe from Soviet incursion and utilize Western Germany as a showcase for free-market systems.

Moreover, Germany has shared cultural assumptions--despite the German ruling class response to the Enlightenment--and Japan, when forced, always semed to exhibit a willingness to adapt to, and adopt from, Europe.

Can the same be said for the Middle East?

Politically reforming others in our image requires two ingredients: absolute committment from America and its allies, and cultural buy-in on the part of the target state.

Does America have the political will when its national security in a uni-polar world is not directly threatened?

No.

Do Arabs trust/like/respect America?

No.