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Musings and Meanderings
Thursday, December 14, 2006
When I was younger I read an amazing book called "The Fire in the Lake". The premise of the book was that we were doomed to failure in Vietnam. Before you get all hot under the collar this book had NOTHING to do with Military reasons.
The book was a sociological and economic analysis of the Asian and Vietnamese cultures. It's main premise was that bringing democracy to a people which whom the whole concept of Democracy was foreign was doomed to failure.
This is a failure of American policy in general. The exportation, sometimes at gunpoint, of our version of Democracy belies a hubris on the part of Americans that pays no attention to the culture or society we are trying to import into.
The abysmal failure in Iraq can be attributed to this inability to perceive or even imagine a peoples who are not ready for, or have any background in, democracy. For some reason administration after administration, Democrats and Republican suffer from this hubris of thinking they are all just like us.
America was founded by a unique group of men, during a unique time in History. One that has never been reproduced. Look at the French Revolution for example, an attempt at democracy that was even during the same historical period. To export this experience either by subterfuge or by gunpoint just does not work. It never has. Democracy is not something to be shoved down the throat of a nation or group of people.
Democracy must evolve and be taken on internally and willingly in order to work, from the bottom up, not the top down.
The sin of hubris is rank with the now discredited "neo-conservative" movement. The assumption that we could just pile "democracy" on Iraq or any other nation is really laughable and insulting to not only the American people but to the world as well.
America is a unique and special nation, one with a rich history based upon a long history of European values. We should celebrate it and at the same time help other cultures be the best that they can be. To forget how special the American experience is, and to think we can export it willynilly anywhere in the world, really cheapens the richness of who we are, and creates suffering throughout the world where we try.