America’s promotion of democracy

 

Philip Giurlando wrote to the Financial Times this week as follows (bullet points added):

Your editorial on the Syrian conflict, “West’s caution over Syria is ruinous” (April 19), is critical of Barack Obama’s cautious approach to the Syrian rebels, arguing that jihadists have been emboldened by the policy, and that the US president should change course and arm “mainstream” and “secular” forces.

This exaggerates the influence of American democracy promotion in producing moderate and secular democrats.

  • The US promoted democracy in Gaza in 2006, and Hamas won.
  • It forcibly promoted democracy in Iraq, only to empower Shia supremacists allied with Iran.
  • It promoted democracy in Egypt, which led to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, both of which are Sunni supremacists.

In general, US democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East have led to the rise of Islamists or other supremacists who have little concern for the niceties of true tolerance and equality. The same outcome would be likely in Syria were the US to intervene.

You also totally ignore the plight of Syria’s minorities, who do not endorse the policy of arming the rebels.

Why do they disagree with the Financial Times? Might it be that they will actually have to live under the oppression of Islamists who will almost certainly take power after Bashar al-Assad falls, while the FT’s editorial writers will continue to enjoy the safety and freedom of their offices in London?

Philip Giurlando is currently completing a doctoral thesis on Italy’s entrance in the European Monetary Union at Queens’s University, Ontario, Canada. He is a regular commentator in the national and international media, including CTV, Sun TV, and the Toronto Star, providing insights on the Eurozone crisis, Italian politics, and Greek politics.

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