Wednesday, March 16, 2005
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Well this is nice
Barbara Slavin reports in USA Today that Iraqis are feeling better about Iraq:
Here's a link to the IRI press release of the poll.
Assume for the moment a best-case scenaio in which the insurgency starts to die down. Given that the National Assembly has just started to meet, don't be surprised if that satisfaction figure were to go down. This is the funny thing about democracy -- one people get it, their dissatisfaction from seeing the process up close seems to increase.
Eventually, most people adopt the Churchillian posture: democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.posted by Dan on 03.16.05 at 11:43 PM
"Pollsters did not survey three of Iraq's 18 provinces because of security and logistical concerns. Two of those omitted, Anbar and Ninevah, are predominantly Sunni Muslim. A third, Dahuk, is mostly Kurdish. Krusell said that even if those areas had been included and 100% had expressed negative views, the poll would still have shown that most Iraqis believe that the situation in their country is improving."
Except of course that these people form their own little distinct minority, which has the additional characteristic of not succumbing peacefully at the views of the majority, but throwing a bomb or two. Or a thousand.
Different ethnic groups behaving differently, with some resorting to violence is the problem in the first place. Minorities not resorting to violence when things don't go their way is a primary characteristic of a democracy, no?posted by: Nick Kaufman on 03.16.05 at 11:43 PM [permalink]
I'm concerned that expectations for the new national assembly might be too high. The Iraqi people felt empowered by the vote: only the very oldest among them probably remembered a non-rigged vote.
Yet, democracy is messy. Its especially messy in countries that have no traditions of democracy, no apolitical civil service, police, judiciary and army. Democracy will improve some things, but there is no magic cure.
Also, there's corruption. There is already a lot of that in Iraq, and I expect far more -- a culture of corruption here goes back a long ways. If this continues, people will get disillusioned.
Again, this is a good and necesary step -- but we just need to be sure that expectations are properly set.
OK, what should we do to properly set iraqi expectations?
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