Can Democracy be Exported to the Middle East?
The true definition of democracy has been hotly debated by philosophers and politicians for several centuries. In essence, it is simply a political ideology in which citizens have power to self-govern and the freedom to participate in public affairs. In this type of system, people create their own laws and obey them. Democracies are understood as a fundamentally “just” regime because outcomes favor the majority of the population as opposed to the few. It is viewed as just when compared to aristocracies where power and resources are monopolized and favor those who are born into power. The United States of America is a prime example of a modern democratic society. Spreading democracy to foreign nations has been a common initiative for several former US presidents. Now one of our major political goals is to foster the implementation of a democratic regime in Iraq through invasion and war. The assumption that Iraq will accept and execute democratic policies imposed by Americans is rather idealistic. Implanting democracy into Iraq through coercion will not generate a “true” democratic society because it contradicts the meaning of the word. The “rule of the people” should be created by the people, not an overseas intervention with biased and preconceived values influenced by a third party. Finally, historical and cultural evidence disagree with the notion that invading Iraq will produce a stable democratic nation. One of the main barriers Iraq faces in regards to forming a democracy is the tension between Islamic values and gender equality. Although the United States’ democracy prevailed and gave women and blacks equal rights, it will be a much larger hurdle in Iraq. Islamic beliefs are very important in Iraq and other Arab nations. The word Islam literally means “submission” which is a common value amongst Muslims. This brings forth a patriarchal society where the male figure dominates and women are...
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