How US ‘Democracy’ is Partially Responsible for the Proliferation of the ‘Islamic State’


The United States has been trying for years to impose its vision of democracy on nations in the Middle East, on countries that neither want anything to do with it or are so mired in ancient conflict, that U.S. democracy is a suspicious and unwanted concept.

The Sunnis and Shiites in Muslim countries have totally different views of Islam, which have led to centuries of turmoil and conflict. As ironic and pathetic as it is true, it was only the vicious murderer Saddam Hussein and his cronies that kept the two Muslim divisions from constant bloody conflict in Iraq.

The same was true in Libya and Egypt. Only in Tunisia is there arguably some sense of democracy as an outgrowth of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

Many blame the deteriorating situation in Iraq and Syria and the rise of ISIS on President Obama — and to a certain extent this is true. You don’t unilaterally withdraw from a nation mired in centuries of  conflict without assuring the proper safeguards are in place — and claim democracy as the savior.

Those of us who have some familiarity with the geographic area, where somewhat surprised when Obama made a speech in Cairo near the start of his presidency. To some, it was a sign of things to come; to others it was at the very least a sign of extreme naiveté.

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

Later in his speech he addressed Iraq directly. It needs to be noted that the speech was made on June 4, 2009 :

“Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future – and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq’s democratically elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.”

Democracy — like its polar opposite Communism — are Utopian concepts. A recent article in Foreign Policy magazine addressed how do we think we can try to impose democracy on others when we no longer truly practice it ourselves.

“What Americans probably don’t realize, though, is that we aren’t the only ones to feel disillusioned. The rest of the world’s countries tend to pay far more attention to us than we do to them, and they’ve noticed what a mess our society is in. I’m not just talking here about the usual agonizing over American ‘declinism,’ the general perception of diminished U.S. influence around the globe. I have a more specific problem in mind: America’s dwindling attractiveness as a model of democracy.”

So, what does this have to do with the original premise of  U.S. democracy being partially responsible for the Islamic State? It is because we tried to impose democracy on an area where democracy is impossible and in turn left the rival sects to their own devices.

Let me say that this is not just an indictment of Obama, but of our desire to prove our way is the right way.

President Bush supported the right for Gaza to have free elections — and we all know what happened there.

One thought on “How US ‘Democracy’ is Partially Responsible for the Proliferation of the ‘Islamic State’

  1. Although you are right that Democracy is essentially a Utopian idea, the US uses the foundations of Democracy to form its type of Democratic system. The US is a Republic as it says in our pledge of allegiance. America does not claim to be a pure democracy rather America endorses the foundations of Democracy because it is the stepping stone that allows people to break down tyrant leaders. Although the road is long and hard before a people can change their country from tyranny to an opportunistic home for the brave and free, it is possible. The globe witnesses still today the US is not perfect and everyone criticizes the US for its imperfections, yet so many would rather die trying to live in the US than stay in the country they were born. If there ever was a statistic that showed a decline of people trying to move to the US today versus the last 20 years, how drastic is it?

    Also, the violence that erupted after the US invaded Iraq was a powerful and necessary move. If the US hadn’t gone into Iraq, another country would have and then the stakes probably would not have favored the US at that point either. Global balances of powers is a real concept that the rest of the world doesn’t like because they don’t like to admit that America is at the top of the food chain. Our vulnerabilities are minimal compared to the rest of the world because we are a country protected by oceans and weaker connected neighbors. Simply put, there was a lot that was happening within the Middle East before, during and after the Iraq war but a lot of it was not public knowledge, due to minimal media coverage and because DOD does not and should not have to disclose to the masses everything that happened during the very sensitive operations. In fact, most Americans did not care and knew little to nothing about the Middle East but the moment terrorists attacked on 9/11, every single American started paying attention to that region and the rest of the world too. And then, Americans started demanding answers.

    After ignoring the rest of the world for so long, people started asking for answers that they could not and would not be able to conceptualize. Americans are not stupid, it’s just we were so busy and concentrated on building and fixing our country and our careers and focused on making a living, because we are proudly and lucky to be able to, that we forgot to study about other cultures, people and politics. Basically, during our own hustle, Americans undermined the plethora of economic competition that lurked abroad and got a rude awakening when 9/11 hit home. I have studied and watched the world, for over 15 years now and it’s impossible to even start talking about power politics, international relations, or war with someone that has little understanding about or acknowledgement of the (IR) balance of power principle.

    So what’s my point? Other countries shouldn’t try to emulate America’s Democratic system, they should create their own Democratic style that works best for them while keeping American principals in mind. And people should stop praying for a perfect world because that is NEVER going to happen. BAD PEOPLE ARE REAL, THEY DON’T CARE AND WON’T CHANGE AND THEY WILL KILL, STEAL, LIE AND CHEAT TO GET WHAT THEY WANT-BELIEVE THAT. Once all people acknowledge and continuously identify the specific dangers that exist within their countries (in addition to Islamic terrorists) that keep them from peace of mind, three wholesome meals and opportunity to overcome their hardships– than a people of a country can truly consider the necessary means to decrease BAD ACTIONS and BAD PEOPLE from overrunning and taking their country.

    Am I making sense here?

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