Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two Military Dictatorships Crumble

This is a great moment for democracy: Pakistan had an election displacing the military dictator, and Cuba announced the retirement of its military dictator. The Pakistani election has been marred by many things, yet it promises to bring to power multi-party democracy in a Muslim state, which is extremely rare. Cuba's announcement that Fidel Castro is retiring is even further from bringing in multi-party democracy, since he is likely to replaced by his brother.

Still, if the military (theirs and ours) can keep their hands off, I think we will see functioning democracies in both countries within a few years. It would also help if we had normal trade with both countries -- if we had ended our foolish embargo of Cuba 40 years ago, I think we would have brought Cuba into the club of American democracies long ago.

I am hopeful. Building democracy builds centrism.


Anonymous said...

I hope you are correct. We'll see. One election does not make a democracy. I'll feel better if after a few elections. Remember Iran has elections too and I wouldn't consider it centrist. In fact centrist are persecuted there. I like your optimism though.

Gruntled said...

I am actually pretty optimistic about Iran in the medium run. They do have elections, and a republican constitution. If we could just get the mullahs to stop interfering, get rid of the current president, and keep our administration from rattling the saber, they might transition to multiparty democracy pretty easily.