Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Democratization... be careful what you wish for

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Democratization... be careful what you wish for

The buzz right now is who is to be credited with the Democratization of so many countries in so little time. It is a matter that is gaining popularity amongst bloggers and columnists of both right and left wing camps. The left is split on this one. Thre are those who are convinced (like the right) that perhaps Bush and the neo-cons were right. That by bombing Iraq and Afghanistan and presiding over elections (not exactly free or fair in either case) there has been a new smell of Democracy pervading the Middle East. Infecting people from Lebanon and Palestine.

There are some on the left (Ezra Klein) who have been giving Gee Dub credit on the recent revolutions.

However a brief look at history as Juan Cole's
(and Flynt Leverett) allows a nice sobering view of how Syria got into Lebanon in the first place (with the help of the US), and how Saddam came into (and staying in) power (with the help of the US).

So the next question is wether or not by bombing Afghanistan and Iraq and imposing democracy has had a ripple effect on Ukraine and Lebanon.

Highly doubtful, but most pundit's who feed on the public's short memory and lack of historical understanding, let alone the lack of historical context in their diatribes, will be quick to say it was our fearless leader who has made it all happen. Was it Bush's words or actions, both, or neither?

Let's start with actions:

I was watching last week's Frontline which was a documentary from the perspective of imbedded reporters within Iraq. One of the scenes depicted was the aftermath of a car bombed Christian church. All the soldiers agreed and basically said, "who bombs a church." The people who worshiped at that church were Iraqi, but they were Christians. Somehow that would bring a feeling of solidarity with any Christian (including those soldiers who were there).

So the killing of any muslim would no doubt generate solidarity with any muslims regardless of what country they are in. Just like the bombing of a Christian church would resonate with Christians around the world. Somehow, watching someone die tends to send a stronger message than watching someone vote.

Now words:
Bush standing behind a podium in Brussels stating that "we stand with you" doesn't quite resonate with the people whose brethren we have been bombing for the past 3 1/2 years. Reagan is given credit for asking Gorbechev to "tear down this wall" (never mind that wall was ripe for demolition, again that history thing) but at least he was at the wall when he said it. Plus Reagan didn't bomb the Berliners in order to force them to tear that wall down.

Bush crediting pundits fail to realize, that especially in the middle east, actions speak louder than words.

However, the more worrisome things are what is to come of these new Democracies. Already in Iraq we seem to have the Dawa party (which used to perform terrorist acts) comming to power. In Lebanon there is a good chance of Hezbollah comming to power. That's right the terrorist supporting group Hezbollah.

And so...

Just because it happens in under Bush's watch doesn't mean it was his doing. Unless of course, the Bushelytizing pundits are willing to blame Bush for 9/11, (note to self: don't hold breath) they should not be crediting Bush with Democracy in Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt.

Be careful what you wish for. Democratization of the middle east (as with the war in Iraq) is bound to bring groups into power which wouldn't neccessarily be those whom we prefer.