March 2, 2011

NOT THAT THE ARABS SHOULD BE ANY LESS PROUD OF THEMSELVES...:

To The Shores Of Tripoli: Empires Fell; Dictators Arose; Republicanism Prevails (Ralph Benko, 2/28/11, Forbes)

It took World War II to bring democracy and human rights to Western Europe, and to Japan and to the world’s largest democracy, India. America was the force, intellectual and military, that brought this about.

It took American victory in the Cold War, World War III, led by Reagan and proclaimed by him at Moscow State University, to bring basic democracy and human rights to the former constituent republics of the USSR and to Eastern Europe. Victory brought republicanism to Latin America, no longer a venue of proxy wars dominated by military dictatorships, ruling juntas, and corporals’ coups. Latin America, in the wake of American victory in the Cold war, is a continent full, the atavistic despot Hugo “Huey Long” Chavez, aside, full of vibrant republics.

After the Cold War China, beginning with Deng Xiaoping, liberalized. China embraced capitalism and was moving toward democracy when the USSR broke up. China too is vulnerable to break up, which would be bad for China and for the world. China is far more fragile than it might seem. Moving from within a 6,000 year history China moves far more deliberately than the impetuous West. Yet China reveres Sun Yat-sen. Dr. Sun left an unambiguously republican testament. China leans toward reform.

Left behind, so far, is Africa, still struggling through its post-colonial period, shamefully neglected by the wealthy nations of the world. And left behind, of course, was the Middle East. The Middle East, except for our ally Israel, is the world’s last major refuge of kings and dictators.

It looked as if America went to Iraq to wage World War IV — removing its monstrous dictator in our epochal revolutionary spread of democracy and human rights, militantly bringing republicanism to the world’s last bastion of monarchs and dictators. Our effort to spread democracy and human rights throughout the region faltered. Many find it unsettling to watch an American president, Barack Obama, bowing low before monarchs like the King of Saudi Arabia.

World War IV seemed, as an advance for democracy and human rights, thwarted. Yet perhaps it is premature to say so. People inherently fear the motives of outsiders, particularly those of the world’s hyperpower, America. Now, exactly as it becomes clear that America is disengaging, rather than staying on as an occupying power, the citizens of the Middle East are taking a stand in, and for, their dignity. The “Arab Street” is demanding principled republican self-government.


...but it's important to recognize that this is just a coda to the Long War that began with the French Revolution.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2011 6:14 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE?: | Main | IT WAS THE FIRST FILM I EVER SAW IN A THEATRE....: »