Bush is very fond of saying that elections in Iraq are an important milestone because "free people never choose tyranny." Well, as a political scientist my first reaction to this statement is always, "WHA!?" I found a neat little website that gives some entertaining factoids about democracy.
Among other things it gives a little list of democratic regimes that have been replaced by dictators. Note especially the following:
Spain 1923 and 1936: a democratic government was overthrown first by a coup d'etat and then, after a brief democratic restoration, by Franco who had widespread support in many regions of Spain.
Italy 1926: Mussolini was elected
Poland 1926: Polish general and dictator, Pilsudski was elected before taking dictatorial power.
Germany 1933: Adolf Hitler was elected
Argentina 1843, 1966: Like many Latin American countries Argentina has had the pattern of election-coup-election-coup.
Chile 1973: Pinochet installed with US support.
India 1975: elected PM, Indira Ghandi declares martial law and rules by decree for two years
The list is longer but I think this points to the idiocy of Bush's statement about democracy and tyranny. Many democracies have slipped back into dictatorships, especially if they have not been democracies for very long. The website has a GREAT page here that gives a little map showing the transitions from democracy to dictatorship in Europe during the interwar period. Note: these transitions DO NOT INCLUDE INVASIONS BY GERMANY OR ITALY!
What does all this show? It shows how the Bush/Neo-con view of democracy and democratization is superficial and largely incorrect.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 8:15 AM