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.