Is Moslem democracy possible?

Come, let us reason together about democratization.

1. The policy of building democracy in Iraq requires us to plant ourselves in Iraq, which turns that country into a magnet for terrorists, which makes the building of a stable, democratic government there impossible.

2. Therefore, the only hope for democratization is that Iraq and other Moslem countries turn themselves into democracies on their own, without U.S. intervention. The problem with this, of course, is that jihadists are dead set against democracy, as it represents the antithesis of everything they believe in and are ready to mass murder to defend. So if a Moslem country tried to democratize itself, it too would become a magnet for terrorists, even in the absence of U.S. troops on the ground.

3. What then to do? If the democratizing country is a magnet for terrorism, that means the terrorism is being supplied, manned, and funded from elsewhere, namely by terror-supporting regimes. The war in Iraq is not national, as Michael Ledeen has endlessly argued, but regional. The terrorists must be deprived of their state supporters throughout the Mideast. Ledeen feels this process does not require U.S. military action, but could evolve on its own, especially in Iran, as a result of spontaneous move toward democratic self-government within the society. The hope is that a democratic Iran or Syria would cease being a terror-supporting state, which would give Iraq the breathing room it needs to build a new government. However, as we’ve just seen in point 2 above, if a country such as Iran or Syria attempted to democratize itself, that would set off a terror campaign against the incipient democracy. So the Ledeen approach can’t work.

4. How then can we destroy the regimes that sponsor or enable terror, and thus give democratizing countries the space to develop? Not through the democratization of those terror-supporting regimes, but through their destruction. This brings us to the Angelo Codevilla model. Codevilla argues that America must invade and topple all the terror-supporting regimes in the Moslem world, kill the 2,000 or so members of each regime (or, better, allow their local enemies to kill them), and then pull our forces out, promising to come back and destroy the successor regime if it gets out of hand or allows terrorists to incubate under its wing. This gives the successor regime an incentive to police its own affairs, without the U.S. Army having to station itself in that country and becoming flypaper for terrorists. Codevilla insists that we have no interest in whether Moslem countries are democratic or not; we only have an interest in whether they are dangerous to us or not.

5. To sum up, the only way that democratization can be secured in a single democratizing country like Iraq is by militarily destroying all terror-sponsoring Moslem regimes and replacing them by authoritarian regimes that will keep a lid on local troublemakers. In other words, to give democracy a chance in one Moslem country, we must effectively preclude it in all other Moslem countries.

6. The bottom line is that there is no way to democratize the Moslem world. We can, however, through military power, eliminate the terror-backing regimes, which would greatly reduce the reach and effectiveness of terrorism worldwide. Our safety thus depends, not on our spreading democracy through the Moslem lands, but on our giving up that democratist dream.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 21, 2005 06:56 PM | Send

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