FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Friday, August 17, 2012

Libya as a Case Study in the Difficulty of Developing a Scratch Democracy

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

          Libya as a Case Study in the Difficulty of Developing a Scratch Democracy

             Owens is clear that there is no reliable method to determine the cost and method by which to create a democracy (there’s not even a prevailing opinion on the matter).  So then perhaps the best solution is to espouse Huntington’s “Peace Among Civilizations;”  it stands to reason that the states best poised to assist a country in transitioning to a democracy would come from within their own civilization.  If one is to accept the claim of Mansfield and Snyder that adolescent or “partial” democracies fight more often (and are a larger threat externally) than stable, mature democracies, then a carefully structured and supported transition is of ultimate importance.  The problem with this rationale emerges when then if there are no (or few) democratic states in that civilization.
              An example of this is found in Libya.  This nation stands as a daily study in the difficulty of developing a democracy.  In Libya’s case, completing the first step of instituting a rule of law is a behemoth task, since Gaddafi stifled any and all institutions during his 40-year reign.  That Libya only has existed as a nation for just over 60 years (previous to that it was a federation of three provinces) adds to the difficult undertaking.  Libya’s case is further complicated in that it is not a cohesive nation-state, but rather a coalition (as opposed to a more permanent alliance) of disparate ethnic, tribal and religious groups.  This was evident in the revolution against the Gaddafi regime.  This international effort turned out to be a coalition within a coalition—disparate groups only temporarily cooperating for a common goal. 

Further question for discussion:
If emerging democracies tend to be outwardly aggressive, are they also more likely to be inwardly suppressive (toward minority or disenfranchised groups)?

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