Response to Jeff K (Is Saddam a freedom fighter? Should "we" off him?)

Jacob Levich jlevich at earthlink.net
Sat Jan 25 07:34:33 MST 2003


At 11:13 AM 1/25/2003 +0100, you wrote:

>There is also a Saudi plan in the works, which I think is separate from 
>what Rumsfeld is talking about, that would allow Saddam to go into 
>exile.  If this plan includes democratic elections in his absence then I 
>would tentatively support it.  Say a country like Sweden, whose role in 
>international diplomacy has shrunk considerably in the last decade, was to 
>create some type of peace plan that would allow Saddam to go into exile 
>following which there would be democratic elections.  Of course there 
>would be the shadow of American military might hanging over the entire 
>process but I would still support such a initiative.

If the shadow of the American military is hanging over the entire process, 
in what possible sense could such elections be "democratic"? Bourgeois 
electoral politics in Third World countries are just about always a sham, 
especially when imposed from outside  on a shattered and disorganized 
people.  They do not constitute "democracy" in any meaningful sense. In 
this scenario the imperialist powers would set up and finance rival 
neoliberal parties representing their interests. At best you'll end up with 
something like contemporary Afghanistan, where "democracy" is a bad joke 
that the US maintains for PR purposes.

Meanwhile the US/UN would move in to annex the cultural and civil 
institutions of the country, as they've done in Yugoslavia and are doing in 
Pakistan and elsewhere.

On this, see Aspects of India's Economy No. 34 (this is a long quote since 
it's not yet on the web):

"A significant aspect of the NSSUSA [NAtional Security Strategy of the USA] 
doctrine is that the US will now more directly than ever before intervene 
in and supervise all aspects of “governance” of the lands under its sway. 
Traditionally, the US kept its client states’ military and foreign policy 
stance in line, and multiple forces—the IMF, World Bank, bilateral aid, 
direct pressure from American corporations—kept their economic policies in 
line. Their widely varying political, social and cultural institutions were 
left alone. However, the NSSUSA repeatedly stresses “opening societies and 
building the infrastructure of democracy”, making “freedom and development 
of democratic institutions key themes in our bilateral relations”.

"Lest it be imagined, contrary to the experience of a century, that the US 
has some fondness for democratic institutions in its client states, it 
should be noted that these institutions are to be built and run under close 
American direction—particularly in regard to the means of coercion: “Once 
the regional campaign [against ‘terrorism’] localises the threat to a 
particular state, we will help ensure the state has the military, law 
enforcement, political and financial tools necessary to finish the task.” 
If the outcome of a democratic exercise (such as any one of the elections 
and referendums won by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela) is not to America’s 
liking, that country will remain targeted and under siege till the people 
there “reform”: “The United States, the international donor community, and 
the World Bank stand ready to work with a reformed Palestinian government 
[i.e. after the scrapping of the present one] on economic development, 
increased humanitarian assistance, and a program to establish, finance and 
monitor a truly independent judiciary.”

+If a judiciary established by the Americans, paid by the Americans, and 
monitored by the Americans can be considered a democratic institution, 
colonialism is a democratic institution. Indeed, American diplomats are now 
to be re-oriented as viceroys, adept in all matters of governing client 
states: “Officials trained mainly in international politics must also 
extend their reach to understand complex issues of domestic governance 
around the world, including public health, education, law enforcement, the 
judiciary, and public diplomacy.”

"The document’s repeated mention of education is not an accident: the 
educational system is one of the media through which the US is to “wage a 
war of ideas”, carrying out propaganda in its own favour while enforcing 
the shutting down of schools which propagate anti-American sentiments 
(while the immediate target is the madrassas, the broader target is any 
democratic anti-imperialist elements in any educational system)."


Is this your idea of democracy?


jake



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