The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Neocons harbour a traitor: Rupert Murdoch

On Iraq, a constant theme of the ideological core of the War Party has been that we mere mortals should lift our eyes from the mundane business of killing and contracts and votes towards the goal of bringing democracy to lands milquetoasts and liberals would condemn to eternal despotism.

The latest expression of Manifest Destiny is the notion that America should export democracy [1]. For instance, George Bush in his AEI speech in February said that
The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. ...And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East...A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.

And went so far as to play the race card against the sceptics:
It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world--or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim--is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. ...freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror.

And Rupert Murdoch, owner of the neocons house rag, the Weekly Standard (which has done its best to try to equate anti-Likud with antisemitic), says...bollocks to democracy!

In so many words. These words, in fact, according to the London Observer today:
Singapore is not liberal but it's clean and free of drug addicts. Not so long ago it was an impoverished, exploited colony with famines, diseases and other problems. Now people find themselves in three-room apartments with jobs and clean streets.

Material incentives create business and the free market economy. If politicians try it the other way round with democracy, the Russian model is the result. Ninety per cent of the Chinese are more interested in a better material life than in the right to vote.

Now, of course, the business of America is business - and Murdoch does homage to the motto with the zeal of the convert he is. The People's Republic of China have been very good to Rupe, as has Lee Kwan Yew-ridden Singapore.

What business needs is not democracy but order. If cattle-prods are needed to dissuade the wrong-headed - well, that's good business, too!

Can we expect Rupert's neocon useful idiots to cut up rough in the Standard about his dissing their Big Idea? Hardly: according to the Observer, it's an old quote.

Who's kidding whom, you may ask...

  1. A notion pioneered by Joshua Muravchik of the AEI.


The choice between democracy and order is by no means a theoretical one for USG, of course, with the collapse of the plan for the Iraqi Governing Council to develop a constitution for the country.

A Newsday piece today quotes CSIS lead man on Iraq Anthony Cordesman as saying that, in Iraq,
Democracy by itself is almost a recipe for civil war

Apparently, leading Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Sistani (I think he means Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani) is
advocating a government that would be democratic in the truest sense but that would be infused by Islamic values.

Iraq is 60%+ Shi'ite: democracy in the truest sense would be democratic in the same sense as in Democratic Republic of North Korea.

Meanwhile, Daniel Brumberg in WaPo today, parsing Bush's November 6 speech on democracy in the Middle East, rates it as temporising in substance. No Big Bang or Big Mo - or, as the White House advance publicity apparently put it,
a fundamental break with a half-century of American foreign policy

The our sons of bitches in the region - liberal autocracies, he calls them - have Uncle Sam's blessing to carry on doling out their penny-packets of democracy whilst keeping the reins of power firmly in their hands. The Arabic for this is, it seems, marhalla intiqaliyya or transitional phase.

Whatever the purs et durs in the War Party may think, perhaps a Bush-Murdoch beautiful friendship on Middle East democracy - or the lack of it - isn't out of the question after all!

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