Sunday, April 6, 2008

A History Lesson for Reflection on Sunday

Today, and for the past five years we have been engaged in trying to jump-start democracy in Iraq. The question is it worth it, lay on the minds of all reasonable people.

Tom Barnett's Sunday column offers a short lesson in American History that puts our own timeline of democracy in prospective.This week's column.

"Americans spend little time remembering our history, preferring to focus on current and future accomplishments. That attitude gives us a bit of attention-deficit disorder when it comes to judging other countries' political evolutions."

His column addresses a pet peeve of mine that many Americans not only have the attention-deficit disorder, but seem to fall into two categories.

Those who see America's development faults as un-erasable sins, that condemn the country for not instantly becoming a Shangri-La with the Declaration of Independence. And those who only see the gilded myth of "A City on a Hill" that grants us the right to see our system as an elixir, curing all ills, and offered by edict and imposition to failed states.

What Tom Barnett does in less that 750 words is a worthy lesson in American History:

It took America quite some time to develop this democracy we cherish.
Remember that when you decry "sham" elections abroad or declare single-party states "dictatorships." Because if mature, multiparty democracy was so darn easy, everybody would have one.

Adding a more recent example of the difficulty in developing a democratic society, is an article in the Washington Post Iraq Is a Mess. But Germany Was, Too, by David Stafford, author of "Endgame 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of World War II."

And if that is not enough to reflect upon. Here is a post by LT G in Iraq, who gives a lesson in the Rules of Engagement . Irony would have it that his latest post, relates to Barnett's lesson on America's founding. Dead Guy Quote (10) .

1 comment:

Bryan said...

A well-written post. Agree with you. You can learn more on how to cure attention deficit disorder at It may take quite some time to cure, but it's definitely a good try.