Violence Continues in Iraq

Yahoo! News - Truck Bombing, Shootings Kill 23 Iraqis

This is no surprise. However, the article also discusses the growing certainty that Iraq is soon to be ruled by a Shiite theocracy, infused with minimal proponents for secular government. Shiite dominated and neighboring Iran must be happy with the way that politics are unfolding in Iraq as they stare over their shoulder at a potential U.S. invasion.

I've wondered for a long time, indeed, since before the U.S. invasion, about the problem with a "democratic" Iraq. Is Democracy the best system in a place with intense religious sectorial passions? In short, I think that representative democracy is the best answer anywhere, but huge pitfalls exist when the system is being born. Overall, my point is that the U.S. could have been better off with a contained Saddam Hussein than an elected Iraqi theocracy. Of course, this analysis is purely from a U.S. interest perspective, and leaves out the moral question of leaving a man in power that gassed his own people. But, that was not the main reason we invaded, was it??

As a brief sidenote, I've thought often recently about the defining moral values of Christian and Muslum extremists. Both abhor some of the same practices, i.e abortion, gay-marriage. In fact, one would think that some pro-lifers would welcome the Islamic stance against abortion. Of course, there are many flavors of Islam, just as there are Christianity. My concern is the fringe far right element of both religions, which seems to be growing into more than just a fringe.

Comments

Sean said…
Barnett would say that a sectarian Iraq can handle democracy as long as we connect them up faster than the fundamentalists can disconnect them. he would say Iran is opening to connection (indeed, their acquisition of nukes could _help_ this) from which point it could move slowly toward democracy in the way China and Russia are. democracy is the end goal, but connection is the path to get there. the more people get connected up to the outside world, especially economically (through Direct Foreign Investment, etc), the more they will move toward helpful expressions of democracy and capitalism.

and, since i've downed the Kool-Aid, that's my opinion, too ;-)
Eric said…
Hi Sean. Thanks for providing some input on this issue. It is an interesting topic. Since you are more Barnett "well-read" than I am, I appreciate you paraphrasing what his point of view is on the issue. I catch bits and pieces of Tom, but I don't always make it through all of his posts, and I still haven't managed to pull PNM off of eBay. From what I know though, I'm on board with Barnett on this point also, at least more than I am with anyone else's philosophy. I have no doubt that democracy can thrive in a sectarian society. In fact, the U.S. is a pretty darn good example of this fact. The "wildcard", in my thoughts, is the simple phrase of "as long as we connect them up faster than the fundamentalists can disconnect them." I think that we "can" do this, but I'm not so sure that we "will" do this. Proponents of Barnett's viewpoint, I think, will have a difficult time convincing hardliners to be so open to the Iranian mullahs, and the new religious leaders of Iraq.

Forgive my rambling tone here, I'm typing this in a hurry before my battery goes dead!!

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