Friday, January 13, 2006

Fertile Soil or Leadership?

Daniel Pipes is discussing the role of democracy evangelism in US foreign policy. He is skeptical saying that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but not likely in the Middle East. He thinks the right institutions and habits have to be in place first. It's certainly not just elections.

I wonder sometimes whether it requires a benevolent dictator to make it work. Could the US have adhered to the Constitution without Washington imposing his will on the states, followed by deliberate abdication? Does it take an Ataturk or a Pinochet to make Turkey and Chile into true democracies? Could Sadat have done the same for Egypt? Gorbachev for Russia? MacArthur changed Japan, but might they not have freed themselves otherwise?

I don't really like the Great Man model of history, but it's hard to refute. Who could it be for Iraq? Sistani or Alawi? Or maybe the US Army.

1/13/2006 2:24 AM

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