Friday, November 12, 2004

The figment of the friendly dictatorship

From the New York Sun (found via LGF):

Yet, Mr. Sharansky explains, totalitarian regimes depend on the hatred of an external enemy to promote internal stability. The result, he told an audience at Washington's American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday, is that the Palestinian Arabs brought up under Palestinian sovereignty are even more violently anti-Israel than the Palestinians who lived under Israeli rule. So the Israelis strengthened Arafat's powers as a dictator only to have those powers turned against them.

"The concept of the friendly dictator is a figment of our imagination because the internal dynamics of non-democratic rule will always require external enemies," Mr. Sharansky writes. "Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you. Indeed, it is the absence of democracy that represents the real threat to peace." Oslo represents the belief that strengthening authoritarian rulers at the expense of their people will lead to peace. Which is why, as Palestinian officials look for an appropriate resting place for Arafat, we modestly propose Norway.

"Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you." The truth is, a democratic state has never warred against another democratic state at any point in history. Never. Why? When the people rule, they become more concerned with improving their lot in life domestically, and don't necessarily care to die in a foreign war for any but the most severe and threatening reasons. In fact, many European countries have been thoroughly enervated by democracy, dismantling most of their armed forces.

Dictatorships, on the other hand, are run by megalomaniacs whose sole directive is the maintainance of power. An external threat can provoke nationalist pride and defiance in the population and rally support to a dictator. Therefore, it is beneficial to maintain the myth of a constant threat in a totalitarian society.

This is one of the reasons why America has been dragged into conflict in the Mid East. We have been the convenient external threat that Mid East countries have used to rally support to themselves. While this has worked, it has also lead to the rise of individuals disillusioned by the oppressive reality of a totalitarian state who are willing to die in order to kill others. (Along with radical Islam, although, as I have said before, I am not sure exactly what role radical Islam plays in the totalitarian-terror connection, although it obviously plays a major role.)

Once again, this is why the war in Iraq, and anti-totalitarian war in general, is necessary to win the war on terror. We cannot back away from this because totalitarian states have already made America into the enemy among their populaces. We are in an undeclared state of war against each totalitarian state that has made America into a phantom menace in order to rally support from their population, whether we want to be or not. The sooner we recognize this, the sooner we can take care of business.


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