OxBlog

Monday, January 31, 2005

# Posted 11:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

FUTILITY: According to Fareed Zakaria,
No matter how the voting turns out, the prospects for genuine democracy in Iraq are increasingly grim. Unless there is a major change in course, Iraq is on track to become another corrupt, oil-rich quasi-democracy, like Russia and Nigeria...

Paul Bremer did an extremely good job building institutional safeguards for the new Iraq, creating a public-integrity commission, an election commission, a human-rights commission, inspectors general in each bureaucratic government department. Some of these have survived, but most have been shelved, corrupted, or marginalized...

Much of the reason for this decline is, of course, the security situation. The United States has essentially stopped trying to build a democratic order in Iraq and is simply trying to fight the insurgency and gain some stability and legitimacy. In doing so, if that exacerbates group tensions, corruption, cronyism, and creates an overly centralized regime, so be it.
Well, that's certainly the first nice thing I've heard about Paul Bremer in a long time. And I think it's unfair to say the US is no longer trying to build democracy in Iraq. That election didn't happen by itself. The question is, how much of a personal commitment will the President make to those aspects of democratic life, e.g. the rule of law, transparency, etc., that rarely result from elections?
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