Intermediate Form

The Point of a Gun

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Today, Chris Patten, the EU commissioner for foreign relations said:

It is hard to build democracy at the barrel of a gun, when history suggests it is more usually the product of long internal development in a society

It's hard to believe than an EU diplocrat could be so ignorant of quite recent history.

First, let me point out that democracy will not be built at the barrel of the gun, but at its stock, after the gun has been used to enact regime change. We're not hoping, as some members of the EU seem to, that the mere theat of US guns (and tanks, and ship, and smart bombs) will change the regime in Iraq. We fully expect to use them, and we will exert force until the old regime is gone.

We hope to bring democracy to that vacuum. It won't be the first time in history that the US has done this. Indeed, look at the aftermath of World War II, when we brought democracy to our vanquished foes. This, more than anything else, was how we won the war, and why there was not a third world war between the same players.

What Patten is saying, I think, is a not-so-subtle form of racism. He's claiming that an Arab state can't be democratic, much as people claimed that Japan could not be a democracy. The success of Japan proved a lie to their words. It'll be the same in Iraq.

Without regime change, there will be no chance of Iraq becoming a democracy. Its people will still live under a tyrant, if it can be called living when a person can be killed or tortured at his whim. The first step in bringing democracy to Iraq will be to remove Saddam, and at this stage it seems very likely that it will be US military might that will do it.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2003-03-12 08:29

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