Democracy & Security: Has Democracy Reached an Impasse?

Democracy and Security: Core Values and Sound Policies” Conference to Take Place in Prague 5-6 June 2007. Hosted By Prague Security Studies Institute, Jerusalem-Based Shalem Center’s Adelson Institute For Strategic Studies and Madrid’s Foundation for Social Analysis and Studies

Panel 1
HAS THE DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS REACHED AN IMPASSE?
** DANIEL POLISAR
** HERBERT LONDON Hudson Institute
** RICHARD DEARLOVE -Former Head of M16
** BASSEM EID -Founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
** KANAN MAKIYA -an Iraqi-American academic
** BRUCE JACKSON Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)


Has democracy reached an impasse?… Or is it the challenge of our era?

Attempts to establish democracies in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Authority have encountered numerous obstacles and difficulties. Many view this as a failure of the very concept that maintains that democracy is feasible everywhere in the world. Is this indeed so? Is this a fundamentally flawed concept, or is it perhaps the implementation of the concept that is fraught with error? Is democracy the exclusivebirthright of the West, and consequently an unnatural form of government for other nations? How universal is the Western model of democracy? Is democracy currently in retreat, or is it perhaps just the opposite? Does this mean that there are nations which are not ready for democracy and that any attempt to implement it by force is doomed to failure, which has an adverse effect primarily on the West? Can oppressed societies free themselves without a significant degree of foreign assistance or intervention? Which forms of external policy are likely to be the most conducive to the promotion of democracy?

Democracy is being discussed inside. Outside the the topic there is talk about the US proposal to deploy its missile defence shield in central Europe.

There are opponents protesting in the streets but many Czechs are supportive:

This missile poster is hanging outside the building.
But… the focus inside will be on democracy and security.

Richard Dearlove– the former head of M16 argued that elections may not be the first step of the process- Rule of Law, economic stability, and civic education is very important. The hurdles to be cleared in the Mideast are formidable.

Kanan Makiya– By the time the coalition came along the Iraqi State was decimated. The war is actually going on today. It’s important to remember that Germany and Japan were peoples that supported the regimes(?). In Iraq we had a war of liberation that was fitted on a line of occupation. Democratization is possible in Iraq. There have to be institutions or else there will be great difficulty. Also, abuse for 30 years devastates a social fabric in a society.

Bruce Jackson– The institutions that worked during the Cold War are not as effective with the problems in the 21st Century. We must do a better job organizing the soft power of the West. We must set up better form of communications between the different organizations. We are going to have to look at the aide that we give to the troubled regions. It is the nations that we are hardest on that are doing well and the nations like Ukraine that we do not pay as much attention to that may be slipping.

Basssam Eid– It is confusing to hear the harsh words from the West in one breath and then see the Western countries give money to the Palestinians so that they can buy arms. Democracy will not be offered by governments but will come from the people.

Bruce Jackson– We must look at each country separately and design a plan based on their unique situation.

Kanan Maktya– The devestation in Iraq from the years and years of abuse under Saddam produces a total destruction to where it is hard for individuals to know how they fit in when they are rescued.

Richard Dearlove– The democratic process is difficult. It is important that we do not give up hope. It is essential that we try.

Kanan MaktyaSince 2003 we see a large number of individuals, sometimes anonymous commenters, who are taking on the regimes in the Middle East often on the web.

Previously:
Prague Blogging- 2007 Democracy & Security Conference
Blogging From the Communist Parliament Building
A Night Out With Jose Maria Aznar, Vaclav Haval & Natan Sharansky
Senator Joe Lieberman Gets Personal in Prague

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