View Full Version : "Spreading Democracy"

03-29-2011, 08:44 AM
When he was President, George W. Bush expressed that he felt the US should 'spread Democracy' throughout the world, particularly the Middle East. That it was the path to peace. This idea wasn't one originated by Bush and isn't very new--It goes back at least to Woodrow Wilson, who felt America's democratic system should be the standard for the world and America's standing in the world could be used for that purpose--to make other nations more like us. He was the original progenitor of this idea that democracy could be exported, through propaganda, treaties, or warfare (depending on who the President was). Every President since Wilson has in some way or another tried to export Democracy or a system we want in place to another country--usually it was for practical or strategic reasons during the Cold War.

My question to you guys, the answer which I wrestle with myself is, should the US be in the business of ''spreading democracy"? On one hand I feel, yes, we should, and could if we do it properly. However, I think democracy must be allowed to at the same time grow in a gradual and organic fashion amongst the people. Our Republican Democracy wasn't forced upon us by another nation; Our founders took it upon themselves to build and based it around the popular works of Paine, Locke and other popular writers, along with a strong foundation in the history of the Greek and Roman Republics, with a small pinch of our own mother country's system.

The problem I see with this is I don't know that some nations are ready for Democracy or Republicanism. If a nation has been the subject of dictator after dictator, and their culture too permits and even encourages this, can their culture alone render them incompatible with Democracy? In some regions of the world, children are taught from a young age that America (and thus everything America represents) is evil; That Democracy and Republican systems of government are evil and lead to sin.

I don't see how we can ever hope to force Democracy on a people without garnering their great resentment, even if what we're doing is good for them in the long run. I do believe we can slowly feed it to them through propaganda and more subtle means than war or 'regime changes.' I believe we need to make their 'hearts and minds' more compatible with Democracy before any such system can be imposed on them, if we're going to do it.

The world would indeed be much better if every nation had the same system and ideals and values that we do--But there's a part of me, a large part, which says this will never happen, that the idea of a Democratic world was just another of the overly idealistic dreams of Woodrow Wilson. That there will never be a nation quite like America, even if we try our hardest to make it so.

Still, I recognize that some nations--particularly those which are of strategic influence to us--would be better off (for us) being Democrat. Like this whole Middle East crisis. It's a very tender, dangerous situation. Many of these countries could go one way or the other--towards a system of peace, order and good government, perhaps even toward Democracy--or towards a radical system like the Taliban was in power.

There are gradients in between the two in which these nations' fates could fall, of course, but I do believe we need a presence there--not a ground force invasion or anything--but a presence there to make sure that the scale is tipped in a direction better for us--AND better for the people of those nations.

When I say Democracy, by the way, I mean it in terms of our own Representative Democratic Republic. I realize that direct Democracy as a system is far too messy and chaotic a system, and that it will lead eventually to a state of mob rule, where the loudest voice wins, a kind of tyranny--the same conclusion the Founders through their careful studying of history came to in their brilliance when crafting a new system for this nation.

(as an aside, I will always love the Founders for appreciating history and it's importance. Some people don't give a shit about history, but as a history buff myself, I admire their scholar-like wealth of knowledge)

Our system at it's most basic, a system in which we elect leaders to represent our wants in government, is perhaps the best ever conceived. It has it's flaws, yes, but note that unlike any nation on Earth, this fine tuned and complex system has never been held at the hands of a dictator; We've never had any Stalins, Maos, or Hitler's in power--thanks to our very system and it's checks and balances, along with our culture. We were founded to escape the will of a Dictatorial system; we would not so warmly embrace one again. And that's all part of the point--We were a people whose destiny was Democracy, who embraced this system openly--it wasn't forced on the public.

03-29-2011, 11:45 AM
My question to you guys, the answer which I wrestle with myself is, should the US be in the business of ''spreading democracy"?

I'm not a fan of democracy, and don't believe it works very well. The one man- one vote concept is a lousy idea, and the originators of The Constitution knew that, so they installed a republic.

I believe it the right to vote should be earned and licensed.

Wei Wu Wei
03-29-2011, 11:46 AM
lol don't be so naive. the US isn't interested in "spreading democracy" because it is "the best system for the people" with the belief that the world would be a better place if everyone was democratic.

lmao no!

the united states has gone in and backed Coups of democratically-elected leaders on multiple occasions. it never was and never is about "spreading democracy", all of these wars being faught and international influence being spread around isn't to "spread democracy" or to help those people, it's to further the economic and political interests of the people who are able to make decisions about America's foreign policy.

more than one Democratically elected leader has been ousted with the help of the united states simply for economic reasons.

now only that, America uses billions of dollars to keep financial and military support going to brutal dictators, not for any ideological reasons or because "it's the right thing to do", they do it for the resources in the area or for political strategic reasons.

if it helps the people in Power in America to have a brutal dictator in some far off land, then that's what we'll support. if it helps the people in power to have democratic elections in some far off land (complete with loaded US propaganda to influence the election) then that's what we'll support.

You say the world would be much better if everyone had freedom and democracy but no it wouldn't. Here inb the imperialist first world we are able to live lavish wealthy lifestyles for extremely cheap precisely and only because we actively exploit labor in third world countries. Let me give you an example, if a company went to a third world country for cheap labor, and started producing goods, which were then sold in America, you would have a highly profitable company, extremely low-paid workers, and extremely cheap goods in America. If these people then decided to organize, become political, and elect someone who would fight for their worker's rights, America would come in and kick out the bastard even if he was elected and put in someone who's interests match up with our own. It has happened before.

The great fantasy of imperialism is the dream that we could have all hte wealth we have today without actively exploiting and suppressing third world peoples. This is why real democratic reforms don't happen ,and when they do the USA is active to keep it down.

Son, you are extremely idealistic, you make sweeping statements about our government being the best ever conceived but you only compare it to Hitler or Stalin? what about the hundreds and hundreds of other governments all around the world? You're working with little kid thinking blocks when everythjing must be compared to Hitler to look good.

America isn't some abstract beacon of FReedom and Democracy, it's like every other nation in that it's ruled by a small group of people with extreme amounts of power who have their own economic and political interests, and it is those interests which America's resources will be used to protect.

03-29-2011, 11:55 AM
Bush changed his stance on that topic. During the 2000 election he stated that the US should NOT be used to "Nation build"

Q: In the last 20 years, there have been eight major actions involving the introduction of US forces. If you had been president, would any of those interventions not have happened: Lebanon?
A: Yes.
Q: Grenada?
A: Yes.
Q: Panama?
A: Yes.
Q: Obviously, the Persian Gulf.
A: With some of them I’ve got a conflict of interest, if you know what I mean. Yes.
Q: Bosnia and Kosovo.
A: I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO. I hope our European friends become the peacekeepers in Bosnia and in the Balkans.
Q: Somalia.
A: It started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that’s where the mission went wrong. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise. And same with Haiti. I wouldn’t have supported either.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

sadly that Ideal got lost after 9/11 when we went into Afghanistan and Iraq. We've been Nation building since WW2 and it's time to stop.

BTW, Iraq was setup in a Quasi-US form of Republican government, it's kinda a hybrid US Federalism with European democracy