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To highlight the hubris of thinking that Iraq would become a Democracy within a few years we need look no further than how the Northern United States brought Democracy to the Southern United States by way of the Civil War. It's taken more than 150 years and counting to establish the laws and cultural acceptance necessary for a truly democratic society to exist, and this in a country that was connected to ours, spoke our language, and shared a core identity.

  To this day a radical faction still exists in the South – fueled by racial, religious, and cultural senses of superiority – that truly believes in re-establishing the pre Civil War  regime in the South. This radicalism is supported by a general sense of less radical forms of superiority that are deeply embedded in the culture, a sort of gradient that connects the radical to the status quo.

   To think that the USA could unite a country as deeply divided as Iraq by eliminating the leader of its dominant faction was lunacy. Only occupation, restoration, education, and acculturation over at least 200 years could have stood a chance of working. But then, only a chance. The cultural memories of the United States are shallow, the cultural weight of the Middle east is the oldest in human history.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sun Tzu, Mokurai, historys mysteries

    "There are two kinds of truth, small truth and great truth. You can recognize a small truth because its opposite is a falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another truth." -- Niels Bohr

    by paxpi on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:18:09 AM PDT

  •  Under favorable circumstances (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paxpi

    creating a democracy can take a much shorter time. I was in the Peace Corps in South Korea in the 1960s under quasi-military dictatorship. General Park Chung Hee took power, then resigned his commission and ran for President with no effective opposition permitted. He was assassinated in 1979, with another coup following.

    Two-party elections began in 1987. Since then, Korea has evolved politically to the point of being able to try, convict, and imprison a former President, something the US is way behind on.

    However, that has only worked when the population is not at war with itself.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:34:13 PM PDT

    •  I'm being very strict with my definitions (0+ / 0-)

      I'll assume that in south Korea the population was also rather uniform culturally? I mean, they were not trying to integrate former slaves and so forth. Perhaps the unification of North and South Korea might be more like the post Civil War era of the USA?

      Good on you for your work in the Peace Corp. We chose to stay in South Korea after the war. It still does seem to take decades of commitment even under the favorable conditions you mention. Certainly not "welcomed as liberators" and go home.

      "There are two kinds of truth, small truth and great truth. You can recognize a small truth because its opposite is a falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another truth." -- Niels Bohr

      by paxpi on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:50:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very uniform, apart from the divisions between (0+ / 0-)

        Buddhists, animists, and various kinds of Christian, and the insanely Communist North vs. the stringently anti-Communist South. One of the first things I noticed on my arrival in Seoul was the gigantic anti-Communist banners hung across the main streets.

        Reunification will be much more like Germany after the collapse of the Soviet Union than the US after the Civil War. The North is full of starved and undereducated people with no modern industrial or farming skills and almost no experience of speaking freely. It will take a generation to undo the physical damage, or rather, to raise a new undamaged generation. It will take two or three generations to get past the psychological and cultural damage. North Koreans, like East Germans, will initially be treated like country bumpkins who talk a little funny and don't understand how the world works. North Koreans who escape and end up in the South are unable to adapt to being permitted to and even required to make constant choices about everything.

        South Korea is the most wired country on Earth, and North Korea the least.

        I stayed with a North Korean refugee family who counted in the Northern manner, hana, dul, soi, noi, rather than the Southern hana,dul, set, net. I am sure that native speakers would notice other differences, but I didn't.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:05:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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