Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Support Free Elections - No Matter Who Wins

Good Things for the New Year 2

The government of the United States usually accepts the results of free elections elsewhere, even if we don't like who got elected. This is a good thing. The deep centrist wisdom of a pro-democracy policy is that democracy moderates extremists. Even when a majority of the electorate is worked up to back the hot-heads, eventually they will cool down. And then the extremists in office will have to moderate their position in order to get re-elected. Even when anti-democratic extremists get elected democratically, a pro-democracy world pushes them to hold free elections again.

So-called realists are always ready to stop other people's democratic elections if it appears that people we don't like will win. Worse, they are willing to overthrow democratically elected governments to install more pliant juntas. Sometimes there is a short-term advantage to this, to a company if not to the USA as a whole.

But preventing free elections always comes back to bite us. The realists only see the short-run benefits of imposing our regime, and not the long-run damage it does to us as well as to the countries whose democracy we subvert. We overthrew Diem, and lost Vietnam. We overthrew Mossadeq and lost Iran. We overthrew Allende and fed the communists throughout Latin America.

Supporting elections is very centrist and very American. We should support the electoral process of Venezuela, because what brought Hugo Chavez will take him away again. We should support the electoral process of Pakistan, because military dictatorship fuels the Taliban. We should support the electoral process of Iran, because the more elections they have, the more the Islamic Republic will evolve into a real, multiparty, multi-opinion republic.

And as to our own electoral process, I thank the Lord and the Founding Fathers each day for 1/20/09.

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