Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Trust Democracy

For all the talk of freedom and democracy we hear from Bush, he doesn't seem to really trust democracy. We see it at home where runs the most closed government we've seen since Nixon and we see it abroad where tries to insure the people of Iraq and Palestine 'freely' elect Bush's chosen one. He's given up on Chalabi in Iraq, of course, but he now he has Abu Mazen in Palestine. Matthew Yglesias says this in his excellent post:
The tragedy of it all is that the underlying theory behind democracy promotion isn't wrong. If peace ever does come to Israel and Palestine, the fact that Israel is a democracy will be an important reason why. Much as Palestinians would rather deal with a Labor leadership than with Sharon, and would even prefer to deal with a Meretz leadership, forming a real deal requires Sharon. Not Sharon per se but the endorsement of the political forces he represents. A deal with the Likud will be hard to find, but if you find it it's a real deal. One of the things we saw over Oslo is that a peace made exclusively with the Israeli left has little value, because the forces that emerged to put Netanyahu in power still existed, and eventually backed out of the deal. A deal with Abu Mazen will be like a deal with Yitzhak Rabin or the deal with the Egyptian dictatorship -- a useful temporary expedient, but ultimate of little value because it doesn't represent a true popular consensus. At the same time, democratic leadership as such exercizes a moderating influence on regime leaders, because they're accountable to their people for actual results.

Update: See this post for all Israel is doing to make sure their candidate wins. Personally, I want the moderate to win, and I want him to win in a free election. But if I have to choose, I choose the free election.