March 4, 2005


Tumbling Dominoes in the Middle East? (Quentin Langley, February 28, 2005, The Globalist)

During the Cold War, many hawkish observers warned that Communists in Asia and Latin America could trigger a chain reaction: If Vietnam fell, then Cambodia and Laos would follow.

And, it was argued, if Nicaragua fell, then communism would spread across Latin America. In fact, the dominoes in Latin America fell the other way.

During the 1980s, Latin America moved from being overwhelmingly autocratic to overwhelmingly democratic. Nicaragua itself, communism’s lone outpost on the mainland, was forced to concede open elections and the Sandinistas were swept from power.

Over an even shorter period, Soviet power was overthrown in central and eastern Europe, and finally in the Soviet Union itself. But are the neo-cons right to believe that the Arab world is ripe for a similar revolution? [...]

Unlike the Soviet bloc, it is impossible to trace the democratic wave in Latin America to a specific event or person.

But there were key moments. The fall of Argentinean junta in the aftermath of the Falklands war was one. This event was quite different from the coalition intervention in Iraq.

Britain did not defeat Argentina in order to replace its particularly repugnant dictatorship with a liberal democracy. This was a happy by-product. This and other unrelated events combined to utterly change an entire continent. Why?

The simple answer is that Latin America was ready. Its people attained a level of wealth and access to information about the outside world that made it difficult, if not impossible, for autocracy to survive.

You can't even tell whether this piece is profoundly ignorant or intentionally dishonest.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2005 8:12 AM

"You can't even tell whether this piece is profoundly ignorant or intentionally dishonest."

Why can't it be both?

Posted by: Brandon at March 4, 2005 12:19 PM

leftists are pathalogical liars. why anyone even bothers to engage them in conversation is beyond me. talk to a rock, its a better use of time.

Posted by: cjm at March 4, 2005 12:44 PM

The article's reasoning suggests the "author" name is a joke.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 4, 2005 12:50 PM

"Nicarauga ... was forced to concede." Nice passive. So how did that happen again? Was there, maybe, US involvement, as well as in El Salvador? Hmm...

It may not have been the foremost intent of the US or the UK, but isn't it interesting that after we intervened, they became free? Yes, of course it's important to note that in the end it depends on the citizens of the countries themselves. But we can help, surely.

Posted by: John Thacker at March 4, 2005 1:01 PM

The world is such a different place if the initials "RR" mean to you "Roy Rogers" rather than "Ronald Reagan".

Posted by: fred at March 4, 2005 1:05 PM

If you pushed the author of this article (what, was the name "Ossining Dulles" already taken?) you might get him grudgingly to admit that the guy in the White House might have lucked out on an occassion or two. But he's more likely to give credit to Danny Ortega's purchase of those $75 sunglasses at Bloomingdale's as the reason the masses turned against the Sandinistas as to actually give Reagan the lion's share of the credit for focing the changes on Latin America.

And you can probably clip this article, bring it out 15 years from now and replace the countries named with Middle Eastern counterparts and pretty much have the conventional wisdom on how much of an effect Bush had on changes in that region of the globe.

Posted by: John at March 4, 2005 1:34 PM

John Thacker:

He's suffering from Eric Hobsbawm syndrome, in reverse: Hobsbawm always says Communist nations simply "came under the influence" of the Soviets (that gigantic military sucking the blood from Eastern Europe had nothing to do with it); this dolt says democracy happens just by happenstance.

Either tactic is deliberate shading of the truth. Or, in layman's terms, "lying."

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 4, 2005 8:23 PM