For decades, but especially following the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. government has tried to promote the establishment of democracies in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere around the globe.
This should come as no surprise. Centers for the Study of Democracy have become an integral feature of universities throughout the United States and Western Europe. They replaced older schools of realpolitik that used to be taught. Professors, politicians, and international organizations aggressively promote the doctrine of democracy.
In the West, democracy closely follows sustainability, diversity, and reducing income and wealth inequality as a moral imperative. The dozens of democracy centers in universities and think tanks house many distinguished scholars, but they have a tendency to act as cheerleaders for democracy. They seek to promote democracy as a universal prescription for almost every country, regardless of its history and culture.
In recent years, democracy has fallen on hard times in numerous countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. To address this problem, in 2013 Stanford University inaugurated a Program on American Democracy in Comparative Democracy. Its purpose is “to seek to understand problems such as ineffective governance, gridlock and polarization, and declining trust in institutions in the United States.” It seems that one reason for the failed effort to promote democracy abroad may be rooted in the faults of American democracy itself. (More on this later.)
Why did President George W. Bush believe, after the invasion, overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and occupation of Iraq in 2003, that he could establish a viable democracy within the artificial borders of Iraq that were drawn by the colonial powers after World War I? Sunnis and Shiites have been at each other’s throats for centuries. Kurds have wanted their own independent homeland. Christians largely lived in relative peace, posing no threat to Sunnis, Shiites, or Kurds.
In marked contrast with America, Sunnis, Shias and Kurds only have a shared history of national unity based on the imposition of force by one or an alliance of two over the others. Either no one told Bush that the America model could not be successfully exported to Iraq and serve as an example for other Muslim Arab and North African regimes, or he chose not to listen. Either way, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, followed by elections in which Shias voted in a government representing Shia interests, unleashed a hell of Sunnis vs. Shias, Kurds protecting their own territory from both and Turkey, and the growth of Al-Qaeda and rise of ISIS.
The tragedy of Bush’s folly, greater than the cost of several trillion dollars and thousands of American casualties, has been the ethnic cleansing of more than a million Christians from their homes in Iraq by Islamists since the invasion in 2003.
President Barack Obama’s deposing Libyan ruler Colonel Kaddafi compounded Bush’s folly. Kaddafi’s overthrow unleashed tribal war in Libya, along with the rise of ISIS and its affiliates (Boko Haram, Al-Shahab, etc.) throughout North Africa. Obama’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, although the regime lasted only a year, led to killing of Coptic Christians and burning of their churches, until Egypt’s military took power and restored order.
Christians are under assault in Syria as well. In the 1920s, Christians amounted to about 30% of the population, declining to about 10% today. Estimates put the number of Christians who have fled Syria or been displaced in the hundreds of thousands. Whole Christian villages have been destroyed and dozens of churches damaged.
Hussein, Kaddafi, Mubarak, and Assad were not and are not paragons of virtue. But what has followed is worse and the worst may be yet to come.
We have learned that the Democrat Party’s regime of super delegates, coupled with the Wikileaks email dump of the nefarious activities of the Democrat National Committee, insured the nomination of Hillary Clinton from the very beginning. Bernie Sanders never had a chance. Democracy as practiced by the Democrat Party made a mockery of real, one man-one vote democracy, which was the political ideal that Bush and his aides proposed to bring to the Middle East.
Well then. If U.S. political party insiders can impose rules to cheat rival candidates of the opportunity to compete in a fair election, so too can elected leaders in one-party states, or who jail opposing candidates, and impose other rules that narrow the franchise in African, Asian, or Latin American elections, as the case may be.
In August 2016, your friendly proprietor addressed a group of Chinese scholars. I asked if they thought the 200,000 or so Chinese students studying in the United states would return to China having observed the 2016 U.S. presidential election during their stay in America, and urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to adopt U.S.-style democracy. They all broke out in laughter.
Full article: Western Democracy Gone Mad (Thoughtful Ideas | Hoover Institution)