Thursday, April 10, 2008
Long Live The King
One of the things that both the Latin American and Arab culture have in common is their appreciation for a single, authoritarian figure as a head of state. Political scientists use the term "authoritarian democracies" to describe those heads of state that are nominally elected, but run the county from a position for great individual power and influence. Oddly, if the election process is too far skewed or unfavorable to western political ideals than 'authoritarian democracies' are become 'dictatorships', i.e. Chavez, Castro, et. al.
Of course Iraq had a strong head of state, a dictator, one who ran almost every aspect of his country. He was disposed of and a more palatable form of government was put in-place, one which is more familiar to Americans. Americans love Jeffersonian democracy and cannot bear the free choice of something else, but in truth it will not work in this part of the world. Iraqis need a strong figurehead to direct the country, and right now a prime minister is not going to cut it. Iraq is wrought with too many political, cultural, ethnic and religious factions to reasonably expect a Jeffersonian democracy to even provide the basics of governance. Many have suggested that Iraq revert back to a monarchy, as Jordan has done, and frankly that system seems to be working for Jordan. Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates are further examples of developed countries with strong heads of state. It just seems to me that the current form of government in Iraq is a seriously square peg being forced into a very round hole. All that it's going to take is some serious hammering and shaving of the peg.