Premises. In the post I will not talk about real democracy, the one intended as a system of government, I will just talk about democracy for what concern this topic.
Exporting democracy!? There are many reasons to do it and a better one for not doing it: it is impossible. Because it is impossible, if someone does not have a “hidden” plan it is better that he’d give up with this.
Let’s have a look to see what happened in first episode of the “export” of democracy since the World has just one superpower.
Iraqi War (2003-2011)
This war was the first post-Cold war episode in which the West decided to export its greatest good, the Democracy, or better, this was the official reason. Let’s remember –for the records- that the First Gulf War has been fought to free an occupied country, Kuwait. No more words about this, it would deserve a dedicated chapter on its own.
At the time of the Iraqi War I identified the real reason of the war to be the American (and Western) interest in the huge Iraqi oil resources. I also identified the reconstruction contracts and the new instituted “democracy” as oil’s byproducts. Of those byproducts we could say that “democracy” never worthed more than oil tar.
As the years went by I changed my opinion an now I am convinced that the black gold wasn’t the main target of the military intervention but it was the control of the area itself (the Middle East). Why was it a necessity to control one more Country in the area if Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Kuwait and other small Countries were already trusted allies and business partners? Interpretation could be many and perhaps to go through this a book would be needed, so, I will just write about few interpretations and maybe not even in the required depth.
the old Saddam at the end of the 90s was very far from a despotic leader of a Middle East Country somehow manageable by the West, he was a time bomb impossible to control. He was dazzled by years of undisputed power, he was a potential backer for “terror” with hands on a lot of oil… nevertheless he has always been a distress for the Bush family.
Definitively he was a potential troublemaker to America, easy to see why America would want to get rid of him.
Contraindication, the Shiite presence
The large presence of Shia people in Iraq (51%) contributed to make the Country a risky place for Iranian infiltration once Saddam would have been eliminated. Considering Syria to the west and Iran to the east, a Shiite Iraq would have offered a geographic continuity of “enemies” Countries from the Mediterranean to Central Asia.
Breaking up this geographic continuity was a “mandatory task” for Americans.
Destroying and rebuilding is a profitable business. Unfortunately, the war in general could be a profitable business, from the sale of new (very expensive) or old weapons (a good way to get rid of them) to aqueducts reconstruction, to electric power distribution, bridges, oil wells etc.
After all, if reconstruction weren’t good business, you’d not have so few Iraqi companies working on it. With Iraqi companies reconstruction would have cost 90% less according to some analysts and politicians (like the Californian representative Henry Waxman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Waxman).
To make a long story short, war is made with taxpayers’ money and returns a lot of money to a small circle of investors. If you were a ruthless investor the question would have been just one: why don’t make war? The power of oligarchic economy can be shown also in this form.
I did not forget about it.
I will skip the part in which I’d discuss how “friendly” companies would get some advantages, to talk about a more “dark” aspects related to the oil.
Iraqi oil’s production is 3.5% of the World’s oil production. Many times Saddam intimated that Iraq could begin to sell the black gold in Euros instead Dollars. Considering how much the oil business weights on the dollar, selling oil in euros could have had an impact on the dollar value. Even if this impact could have been only 1% of the dollar value we can only imagine how many billion dollars could have been lost (as depreciation) by the super-rich. The economic oligarchy in primis would never ever accept this.
Nevertheless we have to consider that to sale petroleum in euros could have become a dangerous precedent.
After this quick review of the antecedent facts, we see how for the States it was a mandatory task to take control of Iraq, so, it was time to find a moral and deontological reason to make war. Which better reason than “exporting” democracy? Finally there was the chance to give to Iraqi people the possibility to catch up at the city forum and discuss about politics… priceless!
Let’s go on. What remains in the Country between the Tigris and the Euphrates after the American-Allied military campaign? There is a puppets government, weak, divided by Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish peoples, that, in conjunction with the spread of thousands of factions and sub-factions have generated gangs of fanatics and/or profiteers in which everyone was ready to put his own bombs, to make is own business, to put money in his own pocket.
In this enormous cauldron of tar-democracy the seeds of radicalism and the Arab Spring blossomed and prospered.
Not only this, now those groups got a new certainty. The ”invasor”, no matter who it is, at some stage should leave, and more, the Brotherhood without borders in the Arab world becomes a new weapon. In this humus post Iraqi World, among people the feeling to “drive away” the occupiers (cleverly called Crusaders) and to overthrow local dictators (called infidels) transformed into a moral obligation rather than a real possibility.
About what has happened later maybe I will speak another time, now I want to share with you some questions I am asking to myself for months…
Was it right to depose Saddam rather than leaving him in charge or replacing him with another “strong man”? Was it right to start this “democratic” path and give it to who never had had democracy before? Was it right to erase Iraq to make room for Babylon?
For me the answer is easy, no! As a result of this export of “democracy” now we have at Europe’s gates a worst situation compared to the one of some years ago. To give a touch of dramatic nature to this post we could say that there wasn’t a sh…t situation like this for centuries. In addition to this we can also say that America is far and in the last years started to quit this mess (and could quit even more “messes” in next years), and we can say that Europe is too divided to quickly react in those situations, it will be some years to organize and react.
To close, the West is what it is due some historical events, mandatory steps to acquire a democratic conscience.
What would the democratic conscience, deeply-rooted in the West, have been without the French Revolution, 1848’s upraisings, universale suffrage?
I do not know what it would have been but I am sure, it would not have been the place where I am living now.
Democracy cannot be imposed and cannot be donated, it must be conquered.