Hilzoy has a post showcasing one self-proclaimed neo-con who redefines neo-conservativism as the belief that everyone yearns for freedom and that democracy is required for peace. And what's sad about this childish redefinition is that, strictly speaking, I can' t even agree with this simplistic formula. Because for as much as people want freedom for themselves, that often means that they want the freedom to deny other people freedom. Too many religious folks in our own country think our government is intolerant of their religion if we don't allow them to force their religion upon the rest of us. Their vision of "freedom" means denying freedom to others. There is no single definition of freedom.
And regarding the peacefulness of democracy, does it need to be mentioned that our own democracy has the most powerful military in the world, and is still engaged in an unnecessary war waged for illegitimate reasons. And for as much as a neo-con might suggest that it was Iraq's dictatorial nature that caused the war, it must always be remembered that the democracy declared war on the dictator; not vice versa. And the last time that dictator started a war, it was with the democracy's blessings and support. Democracy does not equal peace.
And beyond that, if neo-conservativism was limited to promoting democracy; there wouldn't be a problem. It's the "barrel of the gun" aspect of it that makes people hate it. I'm all for freedom and democracy, but have enough knowledge to realize that it has to happen organically. The people have to be ready for it, or it just won't happen. Democracy is about power-sharing; not elections.
And part of the childishness of neo-cons is their belief that democracy is something established at the ballot box. As if elections alone establish democracy; which is their only real claim to have established democracy in Iraq. But no, elections are a by-product of democracy, as it's the method used to decide the will of the people. But the mere act of having an election, even if honest, isn't the end of democracy. If people can't genuinely have their will represented by their government, democracy doesn't exist.
And that completely goes against the conservative concept of democracy; which holds that our presidency is a dictatorship with term limits. But it's not. The president is our representative; not our leader. That's a concept that eludes conservatives. And so when they hold the presidency, he's an all-powerful leader who must be obeyed; and when we hold the presidency, he's an evil foe who must be stopped at all costs. Their authoritarian nature makes them fear the president, no matter which side he's on.
And so it's so amusing to see Charles Krauthammer trumpet Iraq as a "young democracy," which will be part of a domino effect with Iran, if only Obama talked tough and supported Iranian democracy. Because let's not forget that Iraqi democracy was forced upon the neo-cons. It wasn't part of the plan. It was only after their plans of installing an American overlord of Iraq fell through that they finally decided to hold elections in Iraq; which installed leaders which may or may not be loyal to American interests.
And speaking of childishness, it's quite obvious that neo-cons are so entirely stupid that they imagined that Iraqis would flock to Americans, if only Saddam was out of the way. As if Iraqis didn't have their own interests, and that Americanism is so awesome that everyone would immediately adopt it as the default position. Similarly, they still don't realize that even Iranian democracy might put Iranian interests above ours. After all, we're the good guys and everyone likes the good guys. Idiots.
Simple as Dominoes
And again, in the childish world of neo-cons, it's all so simple. It's just like dominoes. The President of the United States must merely push at one domino and they'll all topple. And the authoritarian tyrants controlling our allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will topple, if only we stand firm and talk tough enough to get Iran to allow a slightly less anti-American leader in the relatively powerless president job.
And sure, the domino effects of the past were vastly overstated, to the point that the very existence of a Domino Effect is still completely in doubt. I mean, I don't even understand how the Domino Effect is supposed to work. Victory in Vietnam didn't instill communism throughout their region. And fear of dominoes in Central America led us to support dictators. In fact, it can easily be argued that American intervention made things worse in Vietnam and other parts of the world; and that things get better once we stop trying to muscle them.
But all the same, in the simple minds of the simpleton neo-cons, it's all so simple. Get elections by any means possible and everyone will love us. Unless the elections are won by Hamas, Hugo Chavez, or anyone else who doesn't like us. Then we keep talking tough against them until the real democracy takes hold; which can only be won by pro-Americans who allow our corporations to own their precious resources and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. That's what democracy is all about: Making America stronger.