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Another God That Failed

Comment

"America is Losing the Free World," was the arresting headline over the Financial Times column by Gideon Rachman. His thesis:

The largest democracies of South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia — Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, India — are all moving out of America's orbit. "(T)he assumption that the democracies would stick together is proving unfounded."

President Lula of Brazil has cut a "lucrative oil deal with China, spoken warmly of Hugo Chavez," hailed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his election "victory" and honored the Iranian president with a state visit.

In the Security Council, South Africa sided with Russia and China in killing human rights resolutions and protecting Zimbabwe and Iran. Turkey has moved to engage Hezbollah, Hamas and Tehran, and spurn Israel. Polls show anti-Americanism surging in Turkey. From trade to sanctions on Iran and Burma, India sides with China against America.

The ruling parties in all four were democratically elected. Yet, in all four, democratic solidarity is being trumped by an older solidarity — of Third World people of color against a "white, rich Western world."

Writing in World Affairs, Geoffrey Wheatcroft quotes author Aaron David Miller ("The Much Too Promised Land") that across the Middle East America is "not liked, not respected and not feared."

What makes this "frightening," says Wheatcroft, "is that many American politicians and commentators ... have yet to grasp this reality. Such ignorance is evident in the bizarre notion — current even before George W. Bush took the oath of office — that America not only can and should spread democracy, but that this would be in the American national interest. Why did anyone think this?"

Asks Wheatcroft, "If the United States is not liked or respected throughout the Arab countries, why on earth would Americans want to democratize them?"

Excellent question. Some of us have been asking it of the democracy-uber-alles neoconservatives for decades. Yet, these democracy worshipers not only converted Bush, they demanded and got free elections in Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza and Egypt. Big winners — Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Wheatcroft quotes Eugene Rogan, who has written a history of the Arab peoples, that "in any free and fair election in the Arab world today, the Islamists would win hands down. ... (T)he inconvenient truth about the Arab world today is that in any free election, those parties hostile to the United States are likely to win."

Given free, inclusive elections in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, there is a likelihood our allies would be dumped and leaders chosen who were committed to kicking us out of the Middle East and throwing the Israelis into the Mediterranean.

What, then, is the rationale for the National Endowment for Democracy to continue tax dollars to promote such elections?

In "World on Fire," Amy Chua writes that in Third World countries there is almost always a "market-dominant minority" — Indians in East Africa, whites in South Africa, overseas Chinese — which, in a free-market, attains higher levels of income and controls a disproportionate share of the wealth.

When democracy arrives, however, the racial, tribal or ethnic majority votes to dispossess these market-dominant minorities.

When colonialism ended in East Africa, Indians were massacred.

The Chinese suffered a horrible pogrom in Indonesia in 1965, when the dictator Sukarno fell — and another when Suharto fell. Picked clean, two-thirds of the 250,000 whites in Rhodesia when Robert Mugabe took power are gone. Half the Boers and Brits have fled Jacob Zuma's South Africa. In Bolivia, Evo Morales is dispossessing Europeans to reward the "indigenous people" who voted him into power. Chavez is doing the same in Venezuela.

Query: If democracy, from Latin America to Africa to the Middle East, brings to power parties and politicians who, for reasons religious, racial or historic, detest the "white, rich Western world," why are we pushing democracy in these regions?

Our forefathers were not afflicted with this infantile disorder. John Winthrop, whose "city on a hill" inspired Ronald Reagan, declared that, among civil nations, "a democracy is ... accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of government."

"Remember, democracy never lasts long," said Adams. "It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

Added Jefferson, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49." Madison agreed: "Democracy is the most vile form of government."

The questions raised here are crucial.

If racial and religious bonds and ancient animosities against the West trump any democratic solidarity with the West, of what benefit to America is democracy in the Third World? And if one-person, one-vote democracy in multiethnic countries leads to dispossession and persecution of the market-dominant minority, why would we promote democracy there?

Why would we promote a system in an increasingly anti-American world that empowers enemies and imperils friends?

Is democratism our salvation — or an ideology of Western suicide?

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM



Comments

4 Comments | Post Comment
Well, you almost got it, as usual, Byuke. Democracy is not mob rule. It crucially includes the utmost respect for minorities, which is the absolute necessity our constitution had to recognize in order to guarantee respect for all forms or worship and insulate ourselves against theocracy and worse. We do, crucially, do need to promote democracy, and every bit as much at home as abroad. It is threatened by the mob everywhere.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Masako
Thu Jan 7, 2010 10:33 PM
The answer is hubris. Any rational person, when faced with being hated by everyone around him would ask, "What am I doing wrong to be so hated?" Not us proud Americans. We conclude that everyone else is wrong and we are right. And we wonder why the hole we are digging is getting deeper. Why should we be promoting democracy when we don't even have a democracy. Our country is run by oligarchs that control the government and pay little attention to how the average person is faring. How is this so different from the rest of the world we complain about. A lot of our constitution has been shredded long ago. Our Senate is run by small states and requires sixty votes to pass anything meaningful. And we are doing nothing to stop money from influencing what government does. A good look in the mirror might help us learn how to stop digging.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Elwood Anderson
Fri Jan 8, 2010 12:28 AM
Excellent piece.There was no serious attemp made by the US to promote democracy in the Middle-East.The Reason why most Arabs are willing to walk the extra mile to express their hatred toward America finds its essence in American blind support to Israel and the rotten Arab regimes that rotate around it.America's perception of the Arab/Israeli conflict and the sufferings caused by the occupation is viewed differently by countries suffered from the same colonial source like India, China and many developing countries.Obama's election was received with great enthusiasm by the whole world, yet to everybodys disappointment, his policies until now, carry the same symptoms of his predecessor.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Walldizo60
Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:03 AM
Excelente artículo aunque creo que más que la inercia antiestadounidense lo que se está produciendo con el triunfo de la democracia es una inversión de alianzas por razón de estado semejante a la que se produjo en sus días con el triunfo del cristianismo. Todas las ideologías se imaginan que poseen la capacidad para reconcliar al ser humano en su conjunto y eso no se nota cuando estas ideologías con vocación universal se encuentran incardinadas en las sociedades que las han producido pero, en el momento en que triunfan, se encuentran ante la realidad de sí mismas y raramente mantienen la cohesión diplomática por mucho tiempo porque por debajo de esas coincidencias ideológicas la realidad nacional es superior incluso entre ideologías que oficialmente odían a las naciones como sucedió con el cismo ruso chino durante la guerra fria. La democracia ha triunfado a nivel mundial, cierto, pero nada garantiza que el equilibrio internacional con las "nuevas democracias", India, China o Rusia, vaya a ser el mismo.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Eiztarigorri
Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:08 AM
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