I’m reading both of Thomas Ricks books on the War in Iraq: Fiasco and The Great Gamble this week and got to thinking “Is promoting democracy throughout the world and using the military to achieve it, the right strategy? Ignoring the complications of both Afghanistan and Iraq because those have been documented to no end. I believe that democracy in all its’ forms is the best form of government that mankind has ever created that should be enjoyed by everyone in the world. However, this belief cannot be imposed on other parts of the world militarily. Democracy is a process that takes years, if not decades to implement and decades long military occupations do not compute with the current economic realities in many Western countries that strapped for cash need to shrink budgets. Advancing along the same lines, it is arrogant to believe that because you’ve tossed out autocratic ruler x, democracy will automatically follow.
Democracy should be held up as a great and virtuous thing, but the imposition of democracy on people without any preparation is a recipe for failure. Let’s take Iraq, Saddam ruled Iraq with an iron fist for thirty years, democracy isn’t going to exist there six months or a year after invasion. Democracy is a human choice that cannot be imposed upon a people particularly by the representatives of a foreign government, otherwise it becomes a foreign imposition and a strong propaganda tool for autocratic regimes fearing a democratic wave that will sweep them away. Furthermore, there’s the ensuing battle between democracy advocates and the remnants of autocracy. If one is in a multi-ethnic country like Iraq with more than one brand of religion, there can be a state of civil war that impedes the implementation of democracy and further binds down troops.
Democracy is not achieved through guns and bullets alone, but is an agreed upon consensus among a majority of people that no amount of good intentions and plans can provide.