28 January 2006

Cheesy Democracy

When it became crystal clear to everyone in America that
there were no WMD in Iraq, the official rationalization for
war (and Bush’s foreign policy in general) quickly became:

Creating democracy in the Middle-East.

Great idea, right?
So... how’s it all working out?

Juan Cole writes

The stunning victory of the militant Muslim
fundamentalist Hamas Party in the Palestinian
elections underlines the central contradictions
in the Bush administration's policies toward
the Middle East. Bush pushes for elections,
confusing them with democracy, but seems
blind to the dangers of right-wing populism.
At the same time, he continually undermines
the moderate and secular forces in the region
by acting high-handedly or allowing his clients
to do so. As a result, Sunni fundamentalist
parties, some with ties to violent cells, have
emerged as key players in Iraq, Egypt and

Democracy depends not just on elections but
on a rule of law, on stable institutions, on basic
economic security for the population, and on
checks and balances that forestall a tyranny of
the majority. Elections in the absence of this
key societal context can produce authoritarian
regimes and abuses as easily as they can
produce genuine people power. Bush is on the
whole unwilling to invest sufficiently in these
key institutions and practices abroad. And by
either creating or failing to deal with hated
foreign occupations, he has sown the seeds for
militant Islamist movements that gain
popularity because of their nationalist

In other words, we’re creating more terrorists.

Read more at Professor Cole's blog, Informed Comment.