Democracy was a failed experiment

By Ted Belman

When Anatole Sharansky published A Case for Democracy in 2004, President Bush, and soon to be Secretary of State, Condeleeza Rice, bought into it hook, line and sinker, with the emphasis on “sinker”. With a religious faith in its power, promoting democracy became the central theme of US foreign policy.

As a result, the US lead with its chin in the Iraqi elections of ’05 and the Palestinian elections of ’06. In both case it received knockout blows from which it has yet to recover.

According to David Ignatius, In democracy’s name, the US has helped cede Iraq to Iran. Apparently,

The CIA warned in the summer and fall of 2004 that the Iranians were pumping money into Iraq to steer the January 30, 2005, elections toward the coalition of Shiite religious parties known as the United Iraqi Alliance. By one CIA estimate, Iranian covert funding was running at $11 million a week for media and political operations on behalf of candidates who would be friendly to Iran, under the banner of Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The CIA reported that in the run-up to the election, as many as 5,000 Iranians a week were crossing the border with counterfeit ration cards to register to vote in Iraq’s southern provinces.

To counter this Iranian tide, the CIA proposed a political-action program, initially at roughly $20 million but with no ceiling. The activities would include funding for moderate Iraqi candidates, outreach to Sunni tribal leaders and other efforts to counter Iranian influence. A covert-action finding was prepared in the fall of 2004 and signed by Bush. As required by law, the program was briefed to senior members of Congress, including Pelosi.

But less than a week after the finding had been signed, CIA officials were told that it had been withdrawn. Agency officials in Baghdad were ordered to meet with Iraqi political figures and get them to return whatever money had been distributed. Mystified by this turn of events, CIA officers were told that Rice had agreed with Pelosi that the US couldn’t on the one hand celebrate Iraqi democracy and on the other try to manipulate it secretly.

How stupid can you get?

But on the ground in Iraq, the start-stop maneuver had the effect of pulling the rug out from under moderate, secular Iraqis who might have contained extremist forces. (Asked about the withdrawal of the intelligence finding, spokesmen for Rice and Pelosi declined to comment.)

“The Iranians had complete command of the field,” recalls one former US official who was in Iraq at the time. “The Iraqis were bewildered. They didn’t understand what the US was doing. It looked like we were giving the country to Iran. We told Washington this was a calamitous event, from which it would be hard to recover.”

Allawi, in a telephone interview Tuesday from Amman, Jordan, confirmed that the US had shelved its political program. “The initial attitude of the US was to support moderate forces, financially and in the media,” he said. “This was brought to a halt, under the pretext that the US does not want to interfere.” Allawi said the American decision was “understandable,” but that it ceded the field to Iran and its well-financed proxies.

In the same way the US also ceded the territories to Iran.

With the Palestinian elections looming in January ’06, PM Sharon threatened to withhold all cooperation in election preparations if Hamas, considered by Israel and the U.S. as a terrorist group, was allowed to run.

Furthermore, although it is a violation of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas decided to allow Hamas to participate. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice protested the armed group’s participation in Palestinian elections, stating, “Hamas is a terror organization and it has to be disbanded, both for the sake of peace and security in the Middle East and for the sake of the proper functioning of the Palestinian Authority.”

Nevertheless, the United States signaled an easing of opposition to the participation of the militant group Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections and urged Israel to cooperate in organizing the polls. The position elaborated by U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in sharp contrast to Israel’s unyielding hostility to an electoral role for Hamas and its pledge not to help in the elections if Hamas ran.

After Hamas won the elections, the peace process ground to a halt.

The US was left with the problem, in both cases, of appearing to support democracy and at the same time working to undo its results.

Nations have always pursued their interests, not their values though in some cases they are inseparable.

On an aside, I would point out that Hamas is the duly elected party in power. The US wanted to get rid of them after they were elected and did everything in its power to isolate them and starve them. When this didn’t work it enable Hamas to take over Gaza so that it could further isolate them. (See Did the US orchestrate the Hamas coup as a precursor to destroying Israel )

They ignored the fact that the coup was the work of the military wing and not the political wing (sarcasm), when in fact the real coup was when Abbas took over the Government without the constitutional power to do so. Then the Fayyed government was installed which need parliamentary approval within sixty days. This didn’t happen but no one seemed to care except Hamas.

Now the plan is to get puppets Abbas and Olmert, both of whom are very unpopular, to agree to a set of principles which the West can then uphold as binding.

It is an audacious scheme but one that the West will have no trouble selling because there is no opposition to it in the West including in the MSM and academia.

August 29, 2007 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Felix

    What I meant by “we” is Western civilization of which Israel is a part. Islamic terrorists pose a major threat to the survival of Western Civilization. We can either try to appease it or we can confront it militarily. I think appeasement will definitely fail. Trying to confront it militarily has a chance to succeed.

    The current approach seems to center primarily upon appeasement with a very limited military response. The current approach likely only delays defeat but defeat seems to be inevitable.

    I apologize for not being more clear on “we.” I assumed people would understand what I meant. I value the security of Israel as much as I value American security. This is why I advocate Israel charting a course for its foreign and domestic policies that will be independent of the US. Right now I think it would be unwise for Israel to put as much trust in American policy as it currently does.

    What I mean by thinking imperial is the US and its allies should be willing to consider the possibilty of formally colonizing Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and any other Islamist state that would threaten us. The Islamists know the West would never consider this possibility. We might not have to actually do it, however, if they thought we might, this might cause them to think twice before threatening us. As part of this, Israel should annex the West Bank and Gaza or at least be willing to consider doing it.


    Well said. Democracy cannot survive without basic morality. the Iraqis, for the most part, have no such basic morality. We liberated Iraq. They have been unable to keep the freedom that we handed to them.

  2. Democracy without morality and law and order is merely a joke. If the choice is between, say, a Fatah and a Hamas, what possible advantage is there in that kind of choice? That is not democracy, it is chaos and terrorism. The same applies to Iraq, if the people’s only choice is between Iranian-backed Shites and Saudi-backed Sunnis, then that is not democracy – it is a competition between some power-hungry fascist external and internal entities.

    The original plan was to split Iraq into three parts. That was a workable plan (earlier on) that would have prevented much of the craziness that we see today. Iraq is a terror state – past, present and future – and if the people want something more than that, then they will have to align themselves with their liberators, not those who want to enslave them – their Muslim brothers and terrorists from neighboring countries who are using Iraqis on a grand scale just like they have been using the Palestinians for the past 5 decades for their own political and religious purposes.

  3. If we are going to win, we will need to drop the Democracy promotion idea. We are going to need think more along the lines of an imperial power. This is going to require some moral confidence in our position. This we currently do not have. In order to recapture our confidence, I would suggest a return to the Judeo-Christian values upon which Western civilization was founded.

    In the above

    “We are going to”

    Who Mr Poster is the “we” referring to.

    Are you including allof us here on Israpundit under this collective “we”.

    pray tell, who do you have in mind!!!

    Perhaps a Mr Stalin would suit you, he was in the end fairly imperial.

    Or perhaps that other little bloke with the moustache, would he do you!!!

    The above post by Mr Poster was made on a Jewish site!!!

  4. Getting down to basics, the fundamental question is why does Pres. Bush want to democratize the ME? What is in it for the West?

    It is conceivable that the ME can transform their political instituions to become democratic in the sense that the people can be given a choice between candidates for office. Elections per se is just one feature of a democracy, but elections alone does not make a democracy.

    If the ME were to become similar to Western democracy, that does not mean that old habits such as hatreds and suspicions of the West will be rooted out of the ME culture.

    If American efforts to have Iraq rebuild a democracy from the ashes of a despotic regime, is the test case of the Bush democratic theory, it has failed.

    There is so much wrong with the Bush theory that democracy, if adopted by the ME will make the ME more like the West and more amenable to dealing with the West in accord with Western norms.

    One of the fundamental problems with that theory is just how difficult it can be for the ME to even step foot into the democratic ballpark, let alone getting to first base. All the while that is being tried by America, Muslim and non-Muslim people are dying, lives are being shattered and blood runs cold in the streets of Iraq.

  5. If we are going to win, we will need to drop the Democracy promotion idea. We are going to need think more along the lines of an imperial power. This is going to require some moral confidence in our position. This we currently do not have. In order to recapture our confidence, I would suggest a return to the Judeo-Christian values upon which Western civilization was founded.

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