Prospects For Democracy
THE PROSPECTS FOR DEMOCRACY for Iraq after the war was the
subject of an intense but civil discussion at the Kennedy
School Forum just hours before the bombs began falling on
Stephen Walt, academic dean, characterized the
war in Iraq as an old story of stronger
nations imposing their will on weaker ones. American
experiences in exporting peace and democracy historically
have failed, he said, pointing to Cuba, the Philippines, Nicaragua,
Korea, Vietnam, among others. The invasion of Iraq is a grand
social science experiment, which has tremendous human
and fiscal costs to be incurred, he said.
Iraqi-born Kanan Makiya, adjunct professor of
Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University, challenged
Walt, saying there is no reason to think that Iraq cant
make a break into a more democratic form of government.
Makiya held up a book given to him by a representative of
the Kurds, which described 396 eliminated villages. This is
only 10 percent of the known villages wiped out,
he said emphatically.
Michael Ignatieff, director of the Carr Center
for Human Rights Policy, surprised the standing-room-only
crowd of mainly students with his qualified support for the
war. While acknowledging the risk of setting a precedent through
an invasion of Iraq, he argued the action is warranted because
of Saddam Husseins horrible record on human rights coupled
with his possession of weapons of mass destruction and his
control of 50 percent of the proven worlds oil reserves.
There are costs to prudence and there
are costs to realism and there are costs to the avoidance
of conflict, he said. All the counsels of prudence
and wisdom and care in statecraft have a cost: 25 million
people remain in jail with an odious tyrant.
The forum was moderated by Dean Joseph S. Nye,
Jr. Panelists also included Dan Glickman, IOP director, and
John Ruggie, director of the Center for Business and Government.