Sunday, November 04, 2007

Are Iraq and Afghanistan Hopeless as Democracies?

Below is an article I wrote just over two years ago (In October 2005). As I glanced over it, in the archives, it occurred to me that nothing has changed in those two years to make me change my mind. Read it for yourself and compare the situation in Iraq, and the Middle East, today, with where it was two years ago.



Tiger by the Tail


Well, it appears the Iraqi electorate has put the American Electorate to shame by turning out to vote. And… no one was trying to blow us up!

At this writing, the results are not in, but it seems sure that the Iraqis will vote to confirm their new Constitution. They will have chosen democracy.

The next question is… whether they can keep it. My first, and strongest, reaction to the question of whether the Iraqis can maintain a democracy in the Middle East is… not a chance!

Well, there is a chance… if the US stays there and acts as democracy’s protector. Then Iraq will have a chance, otherwise… I’m back to my first reaction.

Look, Iran is just waiting for the US to pull out. When we eventually do leave Iraq, we’ll be going out the front door as the Iranians are coming in the back door. Actually, they’re already slipping across the border, in droves, and engaging our troops in battle. For some reason the western press doesn’t want to identify them as Iranians, but rather “insurgents”.

On the western side of Iraq, in Syria, they are doing much the same thing as Iran is doing. We have warned Syria repeatedly to cease and desist and they have not. So, at some point in the future we will have to take that government down.

So, back away a few paces, and look at the big picture, and it is clear that the only hope the Iraqis have of maintaining a free democratic country is one, if the US remains in Iraq indefinitely… and two, if the US takes out both Iran, and Syria, and sets up democratic governments in those countries as well.

You begin to see the problem.

Now having said all this, about Iraq, I can’t help but feel the same applies to Afghanistan as well. As soon as US troops leave, the Taliban, or whomever, will reappear and overthrow the government and set up another of those Islamofacist regimes, much as they had before we arrived.

If you begin to feel that I am pessimistic about the Middle East, you’re right.

I have said many times… you cannot give a nation freedom. You cannot give a race of people freedom. They must win it, through struggle, for it to have enough value for them to defend it. You would think we would have learned that lesson here in America. But, alas we haven’t.

We have an expression here, in the South: “I didn’t take you to raise!” It simply means: "I’ll help you, but… I will not be your lifetime defender, protector, and provider". But that is exactly where we are headed, in my estimation, in Iraq and in Afghanistan. If you give a people freedom, you have, indeed, “taken them to raise”. You will forever be seen as the “Nanny” for that people, that race, or that nation. THAT is why I am so dead set against “Nation Building”. We have bought Iraq and Afghanistan and we have paid for them with out treasure and our blood.

If we leave those two countries, it will be only a matter of time until we will have to return and chase off the bad guys again. And the cycle will be repeated until we no longer answer their calls for their “Nanny”. (You can see why I would never have had a career in the diplomatic service!)

So, what to do? Well, it seems to me we have two choices, nether of which is very palatable. We can stay… forever. Or, we can leave and let the “bad guys” have both countries… as we did in Vietnam. We truly have a "tiger by the tail".

God help the President who decides to do either.


Filed under:

No comments: