Chapter 4: The Relevance of Democracy
INTRODUCTION According to the New York Times editorial of 2 April 2003, the War on Iraq was equated with America exporting its republican values and revolutionary tradition. America, born out of revolution against George III, was now exporting that tradition to the Middle East. Members of the Bush administration have argued the case that democracy in Iraq would create a model for more secular forms of democracy in the Arab world. This view of exporting democracy seems to be very different from previous histories of democracy, where democracy has very often reflected internal struggles between the elites who held power and disenfranchised populations. Furthermore, a brief study of US foreign policy would suggest that in the past, the USA has supported nondemocratic governments in Argentina, Chile and Nicaragua. Advocates for President Bush’s vision of democracy are keen to show the compatibilities between the economics of market liberal ideas and the commitment to liberal democracy. Democracy and market economics are described as being inextricably linked. Since democracy guarantees people the ability to choose their governments, likewise the liberal market economy provides choices in employment, provision of health and education and also consumer products. Democracy cannot exist without a commitment to a market economy and likewise a market economy cannot exist outside the context of political democracy. The ideas of connecting market economic ideas with liberal democracy are increasingly presented as the new modernism, the irresistible force of history, the new inevitability to which there is no alternative, a new vision as...
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