Friday, February 25, 2005

Looking for Answers amongst the Questions.

Question: What happens when someone else asks the better question?
Answer: The ignited drake steps aside and lets them have the floor.

In reviewing a couple of articles about the state of affairs in Iraq, Dr. DeMarche, found the typical trend. The pessimists and naysayers in the United States have formulated a whole list of questions and potential problems but answers and reasonable solutions were lacking. So he put a challenge to his readership. Answer the pessimist’s questions and find solutions to the problems. Thus the questions are:
What if the newly elected regimes are friendly to states and groups that Washington considers enemies? What if the spread of democracy through the region empowers elements that don't share American values and goals?
If we get to that point in history then I believe that the cause is lost. Dr. DeMarche really goes on to answer his own question:
As I see it we have two options:

1. Accept them and establish diplomatic relations.
2. Oppose them and marginalize them.
Of course the option of overt action must be available if a nation becomes openly hostile. But if we get to that state then I feel that process that we backed should be declared a failure. We then must accept or oppose the Iraqi government just like we do with any other government today.

So the question becomes, "How do we prevent that undesirable situation from occurring?" Recently, President Bush has made several comments about the state of democracy in Russia. I think what he said is particularly applicable to Iraq. In a speech in Brussels on February 21, President Bush said:
"For Russia to make progress as a European nation, the Russian government must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law. We recognize that reform will not happen overnight. We must always remind Russia, however, that our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power, and the rule of law.[emphasis added] And the United States and all European countries should place democratic reform at the heart of their dialogue with Russia,"

Russia/U.S.: With Bush-Putin Summit Over,
Reaction Mixed Over What Was Achieved

President Bush reiterated those same characteristics in a press conference with Vladimir Putin on February 25, adding that the protection of minorities was also important. I would like to use these principles as the essential definition of a true democracy.

I would submit that a government that is founded around these principles could never pose a threat to the United States or any other country. Further, that whatever form such a government takes, whatever the details look like, whatever the final pragmatic documents, these working principles prevent such a government from becoming an overt threat to any other government.

With this discussion in mind, I propose the following to answer Dr, DeMarche’s question. The United States must take whatever steps are necessary to allow a true democracy to develop in Iraq. These steps should include:

  1. Allow the people of Iraq to re-experience liberty at every possible moment. The elections showed that the Iraqi spirit of liberty still exists. There are examples of Sunnis who boycotted the election but then realized their mistake and tried to vote the day after the election.

  2. Use education programs to teach the citizens of Iraq that it is freedom that ensures personal liberty and freedom must be protected.

  3. Teach the meaning of democracy. Teach that it means the acceptance of opposition, the acceptance of responsibility for your own future, and the willingness to fight for what’s right.

  4. From President Bush’s speeches, the characteristics of a democracy are a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power, the rule of law and the protection of minorities.

    1. The fledgling Iraqi free press must be taught aggressiveness and responsibility.

    2. The legal structure created must allow for the peaceful demonstration of opposition and the acceptance of majority rule.

    3. The majority must be taught the benefits in sharing power and the art of compromise.

    4. The rule of law must be firm and fairly administered.

    5. Minorities must be protected so that violent opposition is seen as the least preferred option.

So there you have it; the road to a truly democratic Iraq. What do you think?