« The Greater Middle Eastern War | Main | More Polling Info: Bush at 36% in AP-Ipsos »

July 14, 2006


Democracy is all very well and good until the people have the temerity to elect the "wrong" people. I don't think Israel's leaders want a democracy in the Occupied Territories and it is clear that the US wants "democracy" in the ME only so long as it mirrors and serves American interests. Either the neocons were hopelessly naive about the people they were trying to make over, they have a very different definition of democracy (perhaps "classsical liberal capitalism" or something like that), or they really didn't care what chaos resulted. I suspect there were some of each in the Bush Admin.

It always strikes me as supremely ironic that people who decry "social engineering" at home could suppose that "extreme makeover, American style" could possibly succeed in a (very) foreign country.

I show my usual respect for Mimikatz by saying that she might be right. Israel would take a benevolent dictatorship next door any day.

Democracy, like economic development, in countries with no tradition of one or the other, comes about in small steps that start from existing institutions and traditions in the locale. In almost every case where a spectacular turnaround was tried, it failed just as spectacularly because there was no base to build on. The reason it worked in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Empire, is that there was a pre-communist tradition of capitalism and freedom. Ditto Germany pre-WWII. In Japan after WWII, the U.S. used anthropoligists to help determine how to create a peaceful democracy that was consistent with Japanese history and came up with the brilliant idea of co-opting the Emporer to this end. Both Germany & Japan were already industrialized economies. These to give some examples of what it takes to make things work. Many more examples of how difficult it is to do nation building in the absence of such robust raw material, especially when past governments have been routinely destabilized by Western countries. (See Kinzer's Overthrow for the U.S. record.)

So it's not necessarily a question of who they vote for (it is from U.S. POV, but I'm talking about success from the country's POV), it's whether there is fertile ground, good seeds, well tended.

None of this is in evidence in Palestine and no one should expect stability in our lifetimes. As for Israel, shame on it.


Traitor Alert

Jail Bird, Bob NoFacts is gonna appear on MTP.

They have two e-mail forms:

1. Comments to MTP

2. "What would you like to ask the guest"

I don't have their phone number with me, but this their staff: Betsy Fischer (exec. producer) and Michelle Jaconi- Rebecca Samuels (producers)

If you call, they like to change the subject and avoid any tough question, so you actually have to push them to respond.

They get their cue from the top. I ran into Russert in 2000, and I asked him, "why are you so soft on the republicans?" At which point he stop looking at me in eye and said (weakly), "I don't know what you're talking about." And we just went around in circles - "how can you sit there and let Broder attack the way President Kennedy looked?" - "well, what Broder meant to say..." - it was like a Scottie presser.

I am just a pseudo-intellectual, but I saw through the neo-conmen instantly back in December 2001. I also noticed that every news program, from NPR to CBS and from FOX to PBS, yesterday had their 'experts' say Iran is behind Hezbollah's attacks on Israel. Not one person said it might be a reaction to seeing their brothers and sisters being brutalized in Gaza. This is why I agree with the idea it may be a conspiracy to take their aggression to another level.

When one has overwhelming military superiority compared to your adversaries as is the case with both the US and Israel then politicians caught up in the exercise of power will tend to use the sledgehammer more often than not.

Israel's strategy is that there's nothing a good whipping can't solve. What they want are vassal Arab states around them and if they don't toe the line will be whipped into shape. The Palestinians despite continued spiral downwards in their standard of living and deprivations keep fighting back with whatever limited resources they have and continue to be a constant thorn on the side of Israel.

The US although solidly a backer of Israel have at times tried be even particularly under Carter and Clinton. With the neocon takeover it has simultaneously been a AIPAC Likudnik takeover. The two are joined at the hips. As a result muscular and militaristic policies with facades of promoting democracy have become central.

I think any solution will have to derive from either more balanced military strengths or the utter defeat of one party. Which will come first - a nuclear Iran representing the Islamic and Arab peoples or a Middle Eastern genocide?

TMV posted a story in which the Israeli Prime Minister's office allegedly told Condi Rice to "back off." The comments that provoked were quite interesting: even people who loathe the Bush Admin were incensed by that, and many of the incensed ones mentioned all the money the US gives Israel.

I had an entirely different take on the matter. Condi Rice is, after all, a co-architect of the most abysmal, counterproduct foreign policy in US history. Rice herself is the source of such astonishing quotes as "No one could have expected hijackers to fly airplanes into buildings," "[The August 6 memo] was a historical document," and "[We don't want proof of Iraq's nuclear program to] come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

Now. Think carefully. You're the leader of a nation on the verge of, if not actually in, a real, live war with an enemy who has repeatedly called for the destruction of your country. Maybe you're horrified at the turn of events; maybe you're hoping to resolve the situation before it gets even more out of control; or maybe you're thinking this might be a good time to finally put the boot to Hezbollah and its sponsors in Syria and Iran once and for all.

No matter what you're thinking, are you actually going to take tactical or strategic advice from a person in an Administration that has screwed every foreign policy pooch it's ever touched?

It occurs to me that Israel's leaders - who, say what you like about them, they're not dummies - have looked upon the Bush Administration's unparalleled FUBAR in the Mid-East, and decided that following the Bush Administration's advice is the last thing in the world they should do.

``None of this is in evidence in Palestine and no one should expect stability in our lifetimes.''

As for democracy building, don't you mean Iraq, not Palestine? To pursue the analogy here, the U.S. did not try to annex 40% of Japan after WW II. It did not use the activities of the Japanese Red Army terror group as an excuse to reassert military control over Japan in the 1970's, &c.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad