Monday, December 22, 2003

Democracy and occupation don't mix 

Amy Wilentz of the LA Times writes:

The final, unhappy lesson: America has had a long education in intervention (we occupied Haiti once before, for example, from 1915 to 1934), but in the end, each country is its own country. Each has its own legacy, its own unreadable, idiosyncratic culture, its own recent past and — as in both Haiti and Iraq — a long and alien political tradition. You can't march in with a tool belt of solutions and fix things: It's not a simple plumbing problem. A nation is a collection of hearts and minds and erratic human behavior, and in order to run an occupation, you must somehow deal with obscure and dangerous political land mines planted beneath your feet. Look at Israel and the West Bank, look at Syria and Lebanon. Occupation and democracy can't coexist, and the one never engenders the other.

There's no indication, of course, that Bush gives democracy, let alone freedom, anything more than lip service, but we might as well puncture the rhetoric.

Japan and Germany being the counter-examples—but each at least had alternative political cultures to the dominant, war-losing one, and both were truly defeated nations.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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