The Concert of Democracies? What Democracies?

In a paradoxical flashback/update (“updated flashback”? my head is spinning) to his “Quote of the Day” post, matttbastard links to a WaPo op-ed from this past August by ex-Howard Dean foreign policy analyst Ivo Daalder and neocon fabulist and tireless Iraq/Iran War Drummer Robert Kagan in which the two of them argue in favor of a bi-partisan approach to successful imperialist war-mongering and somehow manage to identify the chief problem as one of “legitimacy” – essentially a PR concern: “How can we sell it?”

The core of this sales strategy seems to be that wars of intervention will be perfectly fine with everyone – “legitimate” – if Western democracies agree they’re fine.

The thickheadedness of this tripe is par for the course for our SFPE (Serious Foreign Policy Establishment) honchos, and matt thoughtfully provides links to four cogent criticisms of their bipartisan cluelessness. But there’s a key element missing in all four pieces, in fact missing from all discussions I’ve ever seen about US military imperialism in the pursuit of oil, and that is a definition we need now more than we’ve ever needed it before: Exactly which countries can be considered democratic at this point in time?

An almost untalked-about trend toward fascism is taking place in a number of the usual suspects. The US is arguably in the final stage of transforming American society into outright fascism, Australia is coming up to being about half-way through the process, France is on the cusp right now, having recently elected a fascist as President who has installed an overtly fascist Cabinet, and even the usually reliable Canada has a Prime Minister who’s flirting with corporatizing his government, restraining civil liberties, and spying on Canadian citizens without their knowledge or permission.

So far, of the old “major Western democracies” only two, Britain and Germany, seem not to have been infected by this contagion of movement to the far right. Britain waves at it and smiles a friendly, toothy smile but does nothing substantial despite Thatcher’s hot-handed love affair with it 20 years ago, and while Germany is suffering yet another rise of fascist influence in the hinterlands, the German govt has managed to keep it at a safe (?) distance. For now.

But this recent paucity of full-fledged democracies in the West raises an important question no one is addressing: what happens to the very concept of democracy – rule by the people rather than by aristocrats and oligarchs – if its sturdiest historical champions are busily dumping it for autocracies run by corporate managers and heavily authoritarian demagogues ruling through stolen elections?

In fact, if the US can shred its Constitution, allow rigged elections to be certified by the highest legal authority, use mercenaries to fight its wars, turn govt agencies over to corporate executives who run them as if they were branch offices, allow laws to be written by corporate lobbyists to serve corporate interests, design foreign policies, economic policies, domestic policies and all other policies based on corporate agendas, give law enforcement and intelligence agencies virtually the same unchecked powers to spy on American citizens as the KGB or Stasi used to have, strip habeus corpus from military prisoners, arrest people for wearing t-shirts critical of the current leader, and allow high govt officials to escape any accountability whatever for blatantly illegal acts – if the US can do all this and still call itself a “democracy”, does the word have any meaning any more? Or has it become the equivalent of the word “Fresh” on a box of laundry soap?

What Daalder and Kagan are proposing, from this POV, is that fascist western pseudo-democracies be allowed to conference with each other to decide which theft of national resources is acceptable – and how they’re going to divvy up the spoils – without bothering to acknowledge, let alone obey, the wishes of the citizens who “elected” them. You know, like the dictators and emperors of the Axis Powers got together in the 30’s and divvied up the planet between them. At that point, can “democracy” even be said to exist?

13 Responses to “The Concert of Democracies? What Democracies?”

  1. matttbastard says:

    Hmm, much as I’d love to be on staff @ the Gray Lady, methinks you got the link incorrect. Also, I would contend that the UK has also lurched to the right – ‘New Labour’ basically painted Thatcherism a pale shade of Red and drew a cute smiley face on it. Plus, Tony Blair’s record displays a blatant contempt for civil liberties (again, with requisite toothy grin). The rise of nativism and the resurgence of the BNP can be placed squarely at the paws of the ex-Poodle.

    Will right more later on Canada – our lurch to the right has a pedigree that goes further back than Harper’s minority gov’t. (Like Bush and Blair, Harper is also an Evangelical Christian. Notice a trend when those who are millenially pre-disposed [and imbued with a sense of righteous elect] are handed the reins of power?)

  2. matttbastard says:

    Will right more later on Canada

    Freudian slip, that.

  3. Mick Arran says:

    Link is fixed. Good grief. I have no idea how that happened. There’s no NYT reference in the post, even. Where the hell did it come from? This age thing, man. It’s a killer.

    Britain: I was under the impression that Blair had been forced to abandon most of his attack on civil liberties. No, huh?

    Canada: Once again, I was under the impression that the Canadian right turn was a relatively recent development. I’m wrong about that, too, am I? Rats. Of course, there’s always been a tension in Australia between hidebound conservatives and liberal democrats, but it’s only been during the Howard regime that it’s become the dominant subject of policy and public discourse. Is that similar to the situation in Canada?

    Apparently, the rise of creeping fascism in Western “democracies” is even worse than I thought.

  4. anarchistrebel says:

    Interesting post. A couple of observations are:

    Democracy is pobably the worst form of government. Tyranny of the Majority..swell. Democracy allows for the simple divide and concur paradigm. Thats why the Statists want to make the world “safe” for democracy. And boy don’t the sheeple just love that. On both the so called “left” and “right”. Funny how that is? The USA never was and is supposedly still not a Democracy. It is a Constitutional Repbulic based on a Confederation of Independent States. Ok so the Confederation part went away in 1865, but it is still supposed to be a Constitutional Republic. Except that the Statists have been working hard since 1865 to abolish that Constituional Republic. Constitutions are such a nusance. Britain is part and parcel of the Statist club. it where it all began. No western country spies more on its own people than Britain. Former head of the Stasi, the “left” version is a consultant to Dept. of Homeland Security, the right version.

    Face it. We live in a world where Gov’t owns the majority of wealth. However governments don’t create the wealth, they just conficate it, or through tax schemes and pension plans, aquire enough interest to effect any changes they want. And they usually do it for the benefit of the small elite who finance it all. This is something the “left” has not understood. The elites in society want Socialism, whether the “left” version or the “right” version. They care not. An example. Rupert Murdoch (and his band of merrymen), enemy of the so called “left” is is probably one of Hillary Clnton’s biggest donnors. Until people understand the debate is simply, Good (individual Liberty) vs Evil (Statism) nothing is going to change.
    I

  5. Laura says:

    I don’t know if we have anything like democracy left; representative or otherwise. Who voted for the North American Union? Who asked their representatives and senators to make it happen? Have ‘the people’ even been told about it? Well, here it is. I don’t know if it matters in the long run; I just know regular people weren’t asking for it; it’s just for our own good, I guess. Hope the link works.

    http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0907/0907naudriverfs.htm

  6. Laura says:

    PS, I know the article has a right leaning view; I want to see if anyone cares to comment on how it might affect sovereignty, democracy, etc… I feel a little weird just becoming part of The North American Union without a parade or something. Thanks

  7. matttbastard says:

    You know, there are times when one cannot just say something nice, so I’m just going to think about kittens. Sweet, lovable kittens. And tin foil. And Kool-Aid. And what a crazysexycool bish that Jerome Corsi is.

    And I’ll try not to lament how Lou fucking Dobbs has managed to hijack CNN’s dinner hour (and, in the case of R*n fucking P@ul, activist discourse) with far right nativist/populist bigotry (because it fucking sells ad rev and t-shirts, man). Nor will I complain that John Birch Society conspiracy theories now have a renewed air of legitimacy, thanks to the aforementioned convergence of True Believer idiocy, drawing attention away from legitimate threats to sovereignty and democracy.

    (Hint: if there is to be a ‘North American Union’, you can rest assured that it’ll be Uncle Sam–in concert with corporate lobby interests– dictating the terms, as with every neoliberal economic treaty in the history of liberalizations).

    In other news, BLACK HELICOPTERS!!11 YOO ENN CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN IDAHO! HIDE THE WIMMIN AN’ MACHINE GUNZ!!111

    *breathes*

    But I digress. Kittens.

    *bites tongue *

    (Michael Moriarty has a political adviser? Didn’t he go kinda loopy after quitting Law And Order? *googles* Oh dear God. He’s running for President. More shits and giggles here)

  8. matttbastard says:

    “liberalizations” should not have an ‘s’ on the end.

    As mentioned, am under the weather. And, after reading some of Moriarty’s greatest hits, afflicted with a migraine.

  9. Dood. Use Ron Paul’s real name. His net brigade scours the net for mentions of their chosen candidate and flood sites with happy joy juice.

    It’s like Jehovas Witnesses though less capable of hearing what you’re actually saying.

  10. Laura says:

    Thanks MatttB. I wouldn’t have traced such an excitable link if I could have found something on the left about the NC driver’s licenses…. My concern really is about the process taking place here. I only get ‘fill in the blank’ form letters from my congresspeople on any issue I write to them about telling me not to worry my little head about this or that. They have never responded to requests for info about the North American Union. I have been truly discouraged for years with the way the Mexican oligarchy has just been shoving citizens out. (Guess that’s the flat earth economic policy and they fell off the edge…) I get so frustrated with stupid policies designed with such insensitive brutality that people inevitably get hurt. Would it be best to have a Canada, a US and a Mexico that are on par? Would you continue to push for things that would make each country better or do you just get on board with plans of the fat rat governments of all three countries to push us all together, just add water and stir? I don’t know. I just know that if George Bush likes it and that cheater Mexican Pres. is in love with it and Canada’s right-leaning PM is sitting around the same campfire, it must be something to NOT be in favor of. I don’t know what makes sense, but I hate the idea of the extreme right holding an issue hostage and stinking it up to the point no one will touch it, even if it’s important to get the facts. (Sorry you’re feeling sick…. get well.)

  11. Now here’s a thought, and I’m coming into this way late, but okay, if we say that probably the leading cause of illegal immigration is that Mexico’s government is fucked up resulting in a surplus of poor people hopping the border to get better jobs in America, and anyNorth American union is pretty much going to be based on corporaocracy which is sure to only widen the ranks of the impoverished across the board… then wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the illegal immigration that the righties hate so much will only increase as a result?

    Or is it way too late at night for me to even attempt cogent thought?

  12. Laura says:

    Not too late for me, out here in the Wild, Wild West. I think the intolerants are totally against the North American Unionas well, but for their own reasons. I think it’s some kind of ‘trickled’ down type thinking; first you notice brown people lined up to take your job for a lot less, so you hate “them”, then you take your lawn chair down to the border and wait for ‘them’ to cross the desert, then you finally might think something is wrong with your president for letting ‘them’ in. The intolerant people seem to only see what they don’t like and unfortunately it stops with racial/cultural differences… I don’t know. I just know it doesn’t seem to be a priority in many quarters to see a thriving Mexico with happy, healthy people taking advantage of the wealth and resources of the country. Only severely screwed up policies could make poor a population in a country that is in actuality so rich. Only George Bush could preside so greedily over such a mess and act like he’s generous when he puts forth some stupid immigration policy. People wouldn’t need to leave their homes to ‘immigrate’ if somebody would lean on their government. I guess; what do I know. I know I’m typing way too much about something that is only a dream….. Happy neighbors visiting, sharing and loving one another….

  13. Heh… “Happy neighbors visiting, sharing and loving one another…”

    I can’t even leave the front door unlocked without my wife taking my head off.

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