15:48 | Posted by liminal | Edit Post
Baheyya ventures far in describing the situation and offering her feedback on America's "Arab Democracy" with flying-dagger style precision. Ahso... Incredible writing!!! (hat tip to Abu Aardvark for making me aware of this piece.)
This is a debate about what sort of “doctrine” American policy should adopt in its management of the Arab world. It is a debate in which Arabs are objects, problems, threats, inscrutable masses, sometimes self-appointed advisers and confidants, but never political agents with their own political projects and visions, projects that might include—horrors!—an end to American meddling in Arab affairs. Arabs are either dangerous terrorists, or intransigent ruling elites, or destabilising demagogues, or foaming-at-the-mouth nationalists, or power-hungry Islamists, or ambitious counter-elites, or submissive women, or wily women, or desperate immigrants, or hyperbolic alJazeera newscasters, or uppity intellectuals. Each requires a discrete and smart strategy of neutralisation, containment, or mobilisation, as the case may be. Arabs, it must be said, are still not allowed to have their own experiences, make their own choices, learn from their mistakes, and develop their own political institutions. Powerful foreign governments and their local subsidiaries are ever at the ready, making sure Arab citizens are bound in a straitjacket of tutelage.And I can't help it, but post another:
Real democracy means all political forces subject themselves to the unforgiving and decisive game of electoral politics. Real democracy means non-interference by the American government and its client Arab regimes, under whatever guise or guile. Real democracy means no one gets excluded or defined out of the political game, and real democracy is when the outcome of electoral contests is never preordained. Real democracy means the end of the tutelage of any one social force over the others, and the beginning of a genuine, undoctored, organised, and periodically repeated process of public choice-making that goes by the name of elections. Election rules are to be decided through public debate, not behind closed doors by ruling parties who then trumpet them as “incentives for competition.” Everyone must be put to the test of elections, no excuses, ifs, ands, buts, or maybes. And let the people be the judge.Yow'zaaaa! Every word of it is worth a close read, though.
Arab regimes have long made clear that they will stop at nothing to make sure this does not happen, and therefore they are the single biggest obstacles to democratic development. If the U.S. government can stand not to set any preconditions and instead accepts the fundamental uncertainty of Arab electoral processes, then it will gain maximum credibility and respect as a promoter of democracy, because it will have respected the choices of Arab electorates, no matter how unpalatable to the American government. But if it stipulates preconditions, intervenes to shore up its supporters and marginalise its challengers, and continues to engage in age-old realpolitik while claiming the mantle of democracy promotion, then its already dangerously depleted credibility will plunge to sub-zero depths, if it hasn’t already got there.
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