Thursday, June 16, 2005

Today Caesar, Tomorrow Nothing

By Caesar, author Pyotr Romanov (last surviving member of the dynasty?), writing in Pravda, means that the US and its attempts at establishing democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other places, will ultimately fail when we leave. The article is translated from the Russian and none too well, so in lieu of interrupting every sentence with (sic), I'll put them all up front for you (sic, sic, sic, sic, sic, sic.)

A Russian writing to give advice to America about implanting democracy is like John Kerry giving advice to Bill Clinton on presidential campaign strategy. Uh-huh, well, thanks, I'll have my people call your people. Actually, the guy makes some good points. Would that he made such good points about the disastrous comedy that is his own country.

He likens our attempts to implant democratic ideals in faraway places to political lobotomy. He lists several other attempts down through history of others trying the same thing, ending with, ta-taa, Nazi Germany.
Alas, but the same sin, the impatient desire to make over every one after their own fashion, inheres in "the Empire of Good", the USA. It was patent in Vietnam, it is overt in Iraq. The undertaking is hopeless as a matter of fact: the convolutions tend to resume their own form even after the hottest ironing.
He probably has a point.
So the seeds of democracy should be handled at least prudently. For a start it makes sense to foreknow the soil and the climate of a country where the democracy tree is supposed to sprout up. Americans at first boldly throw a seed over an ocean - as far as to Caucasus - and then, having encountered problems, they try to reanimate it, when a seed has already withered long since and has become natives' totem to which a formally democratic president and a formally democratic parliament solemnly lay flowers on camera. In other words the result is not a democracy but a kind of the plastic turkey with which G.W. Bush once regaled his soldiers in Iraq.
It wasn't plastic, you moron. Don't you read the papers? The question becomes, "So, what do we do?" His answer is a howler that completely strips any plausibility from his up-to-now seemingly thoughtful argument.
If only to recall how many lives and resources were wasted only in Iraq, it becomes clear that Evolution is more economical, intelligent and, chiefly, humane.
Evolution is humane, eh? 60-100 million people murdered in Communist China, 30-40 million murdered in Communist Russia just by Stalin and untold millions more before him and since by Lenin, the Romanovs and others, 400 million dead in WWII alone and untold hundreds of millions more back through history in wars, purges, pogroms, genocide and ethnic cleansing campaigns. That is the Evolutionary way. How many millions more continue to die today and in the foreseeable future in China, Myanmar, Congo, Zaire, Zimbabwe, Darfur, etc. etc.? If that is humane then I'll take the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan any old day, thank you. If our people could somehow acquire the certain knowledge that the Evolutionary way of the past would surely repeat itself if we did not take strong actions, then we would be within our moral rights as fellow human beings to just flat out attack everyone. EVERYONE! (Gary Oldman, "The Professional").

We aren't going to do that because we don't owe anyone our sons' blood. We are in Iraq and Afghanistan because it seems to be the best shot we have of avoiding another 9/11, or worse. We are trying to pull the magic flying prayer rug out from under the Islamofascists in their own back yard. I don't really think that President Bush gives a shit about whether or not the Iraqis or Afghans have a US styled democracy. I think he does care that they (or we) establish some type of participatory government that can develop economically to the point that the export of terrorism becomes an uneconomically viable alternative to just doing business, raising a family, going to the mosque, praying 11 times a day (or 7 or 5 or whatever) and guarding the family koran (Koran, quran, qu'ran, whatever) from desecration by, well, whomever.

Mr. Romanov sincerely tries to make a point but his problem is so like that of our own liberal left-wing here in this country. Lots of objections but no viable alternatives to offer. Come back when you can think of one, besides "Evolution", and we'll be the first to listen.

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