Sunday, March 30, 2008

Please, someone give McCain a history book

While reading earlier about John McCain's overview of foreign policy, the senator made mention of a League of Democracies, as found in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/26/AR2008032603208.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter.

Why do I bring up the urgency for McCain to read a good book on history? McCain blathers on about a League of Democracies to help eradicate tyranny from the world. By merely instigating this conversation, McCain sounds eerily like President Bush's 2nd inaugural address where he intended to liberate the world from tyranny. As noble as such a crusade might be, it is wholly unrealistic and irresponsible.

Why does McCain think a League of Democracies will help the United States achieve its foreign policy goals? Conservatives (myself included) famously denounce the United Nations and desire to be divorced from the bureaucratic black hole. Why would we want to remove ourselves from the UN only to take the lead in an organization with the same function but under a different name? What exactly does democracy have to do with eradicating tyranny? McCain, and Bush for that matter, presuppose that democracy means the absence of tyranny. Conservatives claim that Ahmadinejad in Iran is a tyrant, many of whom think needs to be removed, may not realize that he was elected democratically. If you ask me, Iran is no model of democracy, but the sad truth is that it is more of a democracy than the one Bush and McCain keep touting.

Let it be said: Democracy in no way presupposes freedom. In 1918, in the final hours of World War I, Germany rewrote its constitution and governing apparatus to become the most liberal democracy in the history of the West. It was on paper a more liberal democracy than we have ever had in this country (which, technically, is not a true democracy but a constitutional republic), and what happened? German democracy hoisted Hitler to power who tore down the democracy and initiated the Third Reich. The point being, democracy means nothing by itself, and there must be the desire of the people. How do we even know the Iraqi people will know what is best for them or best for us after all the sacrifice that has been made for that sandtrap?

Another point: Democracy is not some kind of utopia. The convention goes, "Oh, if they have democracy they will stop hating each other and stop attempting genocides." If anything, democracy is the least efficient form of government. Suppose Americans go to the polls and on the ballot is an initiative to forever deny the vote to Republicans. There are more registered Democrats in this country and the initiative is passed 55-45 and Republicans no longer vote. Some kind of freedom and absence of tyranny. An extreme hypothetical example, I know.

So, I am eternally hopeful that someone (maybe even his unofficial fact-checker Joe Liebermann) can inform McCain that replacing the UN with a League of Democracies or any other pseud0-League of Nations is not helpful. It is based on the assumption that people will naturally know what is best and make the proper and responsible decision that is in the best interests of their country. But, we don't even do that here. If it got put on the ballot whether the troops come home from Iraq or stayed for the duration, I would wager that it would not be a very close decision.

Time for someone to give the Straight Talk Express some hard facts about democracy and human nature.

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