Response to Jeff K (Is Saddam a freedom fighter? Should "we" off him?)
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 forcesthe IMF, World Bank, bilateral aid,
direct pressure from American corporationskept 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 directionparticularly 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 Americas
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 documents 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?
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