Mar 13 2010

Growing pains

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:47 am

Maliki appears to have narrow edge in Iraqi elections

First results from Iraq’s parliamentary election showed the prime minister and his secular rival locked in an extremely tight contest amid fraud allegations by rival parties and a chaotic, unpredictable vote count.

Looks like Iraq and Florida have something in common.

The meta-message: Iraq has a good chance of “making it” as a democratic nation. That would have seemed an unbelievable pipe dream 20 years ago.

Why only “a good chance”? Because there are still forces that could destabilize Iraq sufficiently that an over-reaction into more authoritarian government would ensue. Iraq’s leaders will have to walk the (pretty narrow) line between being tough enough to suppress terrorism and attempts to violently subvert the democratic will, and leaving enough freedom and self-determination for markets to work, the economy to grow, and people to feel that they are largely in control of their lives, all radical departures from the Baath era.

The biggest test yet to come? A peaceful transfer of power between political foes, as the result of elections, always the defining characteristic of a modern democracy, and the thing which set the US apart from the world a couple of centuries ago.

George Bush is looking more like Harry Truman every day, though it will take awhile for the success (admittedly delayed) of his essential Iraq policy to redound to his credit.

I would give a lot to know what will be taught to Iraqi school children in 30 years about George W. Bush. If Iraq stays a democracy, it ought to be much more positive than the American (and European) Left would ever have dreamed.

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