Friday, May 25, 2012

Liberation Has Never Been Easy

As many despair of the problems in the Arab world that have followed from the overthrow of Arab dictators--whether in Iraq from direct American military intervention or in the aftermath of Arab Spring revolts--and argue that it would have been better to leave the dictators in charge to preserve order, let us not forget that chaos, death, destruction, and revenge in the aftermath of upheaval are not limited to Moslems:

Lowe follows with a look at the virtual chaos of the times [in Europe after World War II], violence by “liberated” peoples, Allied troops (of all nations), former slave laborers, and former concentration camp inmates, directed against “collaborators”, prisoners-of-war, displaced persons, minorities, and especially women. This disorganized violence was followed in some areas by systematic “ethnic cleansing”, and that by “civil wars” of varying degrees of violence in
many countries, from which the Cold War emerged, setting the political stage in Europe for the next fortyfive years.

Every time a region has experienced movement toward democracy, whether in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, or now the Middle East, people in the West have argued they were just not ready for it. Which fits nicely with the propaganda put out by the dictators who want to continue to rule.

Let's not forget that planting democracy isn't just a matter of a weekend convention of the League of Women Voters agreeing on rules of the game. Don't fret over who wins the first election, fret over whether there are future regular and free elections. Teach them how to elect good men and not to elect good men.

If it was easy, our help wouldn't be needed.

Work the problem. The tremors shaking the foundations of the old order in the Arab world are an opportunity and not a curse.