Thu 10 Apr, 2003 06:54 pm
Will the neocon dream of contagious democracy come true, or are we headed for serious trouble?
From looking at some international news sources, I'd have to admit that I'm feeling very anxious about what is going to happen in the world. Very much a 'waiting for the next shoe to drop' feeling. I hate this feeling.
Possibly there will be a government similar to that of present-day Afghanistan, where Karzai controls the capital city, Kabul ... period. The rest of the country is run by the various warlords. Both Iran and Afghanistan are made up of many peoples (with an "s"). When the Americans and Brits finally leave "after they have LEFT many billions of dollars/pounds," the peopleS can get back to their centuries' old feuds - unless/until another dictator comes along. There is a well-proven dictum in political science: You cannot GIVE a form of government to any people (peopleS who have "united" [?]). :-) [/color]
I feel the same as both of you... anxious and feel the situation will get worse.
The situation we've been placed in is untenable.
I have that very same uneasy feeling!
At this juncture, even the experts are debating this very question. With so many groups vying for control of the new Iraq, it seems chaos for the first few years is the natural progression. It will be necessary for the US and UK to pull out the military as soon as it seems the new government is established, and let them create what is necessary for the "New Iraq" with UN assistance. If the different factions resorts to war, similar to what is happening in Afghanistan, it's going to get very messy. Humanitarian assistance is the first order of business. World community contributions will be necessary to assist the Iraqis develop into a viable economic and political entity. c.i.
I suspect that there will be a time of chaos as revenants of the old Ba'ath Party are reduced to dust. The mob will rule the streets for a little while, and retribution against known torturers and oppressors is taken. I believe that those regrettable events will be short lived, and that stability will return in due time.
Our care in preserving life and property will pay dividends in the days ahead. Water, electricity, and the food distribution system will return to normal rather quickly. Medical supplies and support from the United States and Britain will greatly improve hospital conditions, again in rather short order. Bridges and roadways will reopen, though brigands may prey on travelers for an extended period. Administration of the physical infrastructure may be the easiest part of reconstructing Iraqi government. Will this be enough to forestall the terrible consequences of a western victory over a brutal native dictator?
Perhaps not, but daily life will return for most Iraqi's to normal ... EXCEPT they will no longer have to fear the secret police. It is yet to be seen how well the Iraqi People handle their new freedom.
Coalition transition government will face a number of problems, but I'm confident that they will successfully meet the challenges given a chance.
religeous Freedom. The whole world will be watching to insure that the religious institutions of Iraq are respected, but not permitted to dictate to the secular government. Winning the support of influential religious leaders will be a top priority.
A justice system acceptable to the People will be a high priority. This is a dual problem. First, a legal system that is even handed and in conformance with cultural values acceptable to the People will have to be put together. Will the Iraqi People prefer the Common Law, or something akin to the Code Napoleon, or something else entirely? This is a giant hurtle, and will take some time to devise. In the meantime, I suppose that a modified UCMJ might work, if credible Iraqi jurists will participate in its formation and application.
Once there is a system of law in place there are three components to effective Justice Systems; police, trial, and punishment/corrections. At first, Military Police can preserve order, and arrest criminals. This is, however, only a stop gap measure. The Military Police will have to recruit and train new police cadres, and work with them until the People fully understand that Police does not automatically mean torturer, and murderer. Trials must be open and seen as just, from the very first. Prisons and prison guards will be under equal scrutiny.
Education. Getting the educational system back up and running is another high priority. Iraq is well-known in the region for the excellence of its schools, but they have been greatly disrupted by the current conflict. The curriculum will have to be rethought. All past efforts to glorify the Ba'ath Party and Saddam will need to be purged, and academic freedom of thought encouraged. The social sciences in particular may need to be refocused.
Economy. The Iraqi People have a great resource in their oil, but the economy has for over thirty years been perverted and looted by Saddam and the elite of the Ba'ath Party. Oil revenues belong to the Iraqi People, but how to best protect their interest is yet to be determined. A new and stable currency will need to replace the old, even though that may mean that some lose a part of their life's savings. I think that the Iraqi People will take to a capitalist style economy like ducks to water. The problem may be in restraining some of the cut-throat competition that may result. Some will prosper, and others will not. That dictates the development of some sort of social security safety net for the poor, sick and elderly.
Diplomacy. What will be the foreign policies of the new Iraqi State? We hope that those policies will promote regional stability, and discourage terrorism. I expect that Iraq will remain closer to it's Arab neighbors than to Israel, but in a more moderate way than in the past. Old wounds can hopefully be healed by overtures to Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. For Iraqi diplomacy to be effective, the new government must be secure. That means that the territorial integrity of the country must be provided for. I suppose that a separate Kurdistan is unlikely, but a federation of the Kurds in the North, the Suni's in the center, and the Shia in the South might work out alright. The military force to insure the nation's security will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. A new Iraqi Army representing all its diversity should be started very early. American/British training and supply are probably the best means of creating a new, popular Iraqi military. In the interim, coalition force may need to demonstrate to a few rambunctious neighbors that a prostate Iraq is not to be violated.
All in all, I'm very hopeful that the transition will be relatively smooth, fast, and effective. Only time will tell, but our intentions are to return the nation to its people and find some stability regional security for the world. We did this in post-war Japan, and we can do it again.
Oh, one last thing. The UN, and its individual members, may play a vital role in delivering humanitarian aid and assistence. However, I hope that the French, Russians and Germans don't expect to financially benefit from the situation. The restructuring of the Iraqi government will be guided by the United States, Britain and those countries who supported the effort to disarm and depose Saddam and his henchmen. We've paid the piper, now we will call the tune until the Iraqi People reclaim their nation.
I don't feel very optimistic after Afghanistan. It's one thing to "win the war", but quite another to have the will & commitment to help repair the damage done in the process of "winning".
Repairing the damage done to Iraq through both US actions (plus 12 years of sanctions) is a huge task.
And what about Iraqi self determination? What chance of that & what work needs to be done before that can happen?
Most of the reports I've seen seem more concerned about who will profit from the post-war contracts. Very depressing.
I hope you're right Asherman. Our stated intentions are decent enough, but our actions have rendered our motives questionable in the eyes of most of the world. I hope we can recover gracefully from this episode, because the odds of disaster have been greatly increased.
I predict chaos will be the order of the day for a while.
We will begin teaching groups of Iraqis in how to impose order without hacking people to pieces. (Which they are currently doing...) Great efforts will be made to assist them in operating their infrastructure, and the cities will improve long before the outland areas.
I think the Kurds and Turkey are a huge problem, which may not be resolved before gunfire is exchanged. Serious efforts are probably underway to avoid this, but I don't know if even strongarm diplomacy can hold these bloodthirsty groups off of one another... This will hang heavily around Colin Powell's neck for the rest of his tenure.
To be truthful, Syria shows no signs of being anything but a hindrance, and the very thing they are railing against--a US strike on them, they are begging for and may get due to their duplicity with what's left of the Iraqi opposition. I can envision many groups coming through the Syrian/Iraqi border to take potshots at our forces, and to strike fear into the newly freed Iraqis. If Syria doesn't get a clue, and soon, they may go the way of Saddam. This would be an awful addition to this war--I hope they will pull back.
I think the Saddam loyalists who have escaped to Syria, and the desert may commit isolated bombings against the countries who looked the other way while we warred: Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi and Pakistan. I think remnants of al-Quaida will add in on this exercise.
Every day I wake up and don't hear that Musharraf has been assasinated, I am surprised. Hope he can continue...
The good news in my scenario, is I think Iran will finally have their heaving change. I think this is one domino the Bushies expected that will come to pass. It may be a couple of years, after democracy has started to look like something good in Iraq. And I do think Iraq will succeed. But, it will be with all manner of US/UK groups of trainers, and live-in cheerleaders. I also think this group will suffer serious danger.
I thank God for Iraq's national resources. A rich, self-sufficient country can emerge. Like Asherman, I think education is the big key. But, IMO, there is alot of brainwashing to undo. Citizenship or Democracy classes, explaining rights and tolerance could help.
I also believe that the freed Iraqis will have a very short memory, and protest against the US in the streets within a couple of months. They will want us out long before it is safe for them for us to leave. Hope I am wrong on this, as well.
For a fun bonus** France, Germany and Russia are meeting in St. Petersburg this weekend-- They will work out a request for the UN to send blue hats into Iraq. The UN will agree. Bush will refuse. France, Russia and Germany will push to have their debts paid by Iraq. They won't be paid. The UN goes belly up. NY has a really big building for rent...
I just heard interviews on the radio this morning with Iraquis complaining of the mess the U.S. has put them in. It is very distressing to hear them expressing feelings of abandonment already.
Given the situation in Afghanistan (where Canada continues to work), this does not look good.
Given the decades that Canadians peace-keepers were stationed in Cyprus, the lack of any good progress in the Israel/Palestine situation - it's extremely difficult to even be cautiously optimistic.
The bear maket will persist.
The Powers-That-Be will see an advantage in setting the Iraquis at each others' throats.
I predict further de-stabilization and furtherance of the agendas of the people in power in America. Because of the Smoke-and-mirrors, it's hard to predict exactly which events will come first, because while our attention is taken by one hand, it's the other hand that's doing the business that counts.
But I'm thinking the Iraqui people won't be the only ones looting and plundering.
Here's what I hope doesn't happen:
Saddam escapes to Syria, forcing Bush to give Syria an ultimatum. The "Arab street" erupts with an anger never before seen. Iran & the rest of the Muslim world pledge to support Syria. The UN attempts to remain neutral, but is eventually forced by the majority of the world's population to stand against US aggression. Support from the British & Australians flounders, and the "coalition of the willing" is reduced to one country. Martial law in the United States.
Violet, Your idea of justice has a flaw; the world community will never agree to anything. c.i.
There's a first time for everything
We have jumped feet first into a morass. Shortly we will be hearing that to stabilize Iraq we need to invade Syria, also governed by the Baath party. And so it goes.