Monday, June 18, 2007

Lose/Lose — LOST IT!

It is hard to imagine how presumably well educated people could have made such an horrendous mess of the Middle East. Bush may have been a dummy at Yale, but some of his advisors must have been around to fill him in a bit on the history of democracy. It did not take a reading of DeTocqueville’s Democracy in America or John Stuart Mill to learn that “tyranny of the majority” is not infrequently a worse hazard than outright authoritarian tyranny!The U.S. is still struggling against the evils of slavery; native Americans are still recovering from our “manifest destiny” genocide (I grew up as a child with “the only good Indian is a dead one.”). Women are doing better since the feminist revolution in the 1960s, but have a way to go to achieve equal rights and pay for equal work — and to stave off the “right to life” women killers who would have them die rather than have an abortion resulting from rape, incest, or a threat to their health. Yes, the Vatican just condemned perhaps our leading global human rights organization, Amnesty International, for defending this elementary human right:,,2102583,00.html

I was startled but not surprised. The present ex-Hitler youth Pope, Ratzinger, spent several decades scheming his way into his present role through sponsoring sycophantic right wing appointments to the Cardinalate while John Paul was busy with higher things:

And its attacks on gays?

It is sad to see a potential force for good in the world self-destructing in the face of such nonsense. Good men and women — its leading theologians, priests, nuns, and lay people have been departing this institution which in the U.S. is hard-pressed even to recruit replacements for its aging clergy or to recover economically from its sexual assaults on innocents.

But apart from the lose/lose disempowerment of Roman Catholicism, the abject failures of our U.S. actions in the Middle East are totally mind-bending. Our major (non-democratic) allies there — Egypt, Pakistan for the moment, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others live in mortal fear of democracy moving in and instituting Islamic radicalism — as nearly happened a while back in Algeria or where the Turks also fear a comparable ‘democratic’ overthrow of its secular/military regime. And Hamas?!

Needless to say the greatest challenge to democracy is to keep those elected from turning around and murdering their opponents. This is happening in African states such as Zimbabwe, most of the oil producing states where corrupt elites steal and run — as in Iraq with our instigation (See 60 Minutes exposé last night.). This year’s insurgents and terrorists may well become next year’s democratic majority — caveat! And g-d help the Gazans!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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