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Is “Our” democratic model the perfect one?


When George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003 the main “public”reason was that USA had to help Iraq with a new society model. A country, which had to be democratic and equal, and people like Saddam must not rule. After 13 years the situation in Iraq did not change. The Country is still in an instable situation, where there are different groups who are trying to get the power.  The same is happing in the other countries in the middle East after the Arab spring. The revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen etc. had, as purpose, to create a solid and an equal democratic country. The USA and the EU helped  and they are still helping these countries but the situation is worse than before, maybe only in Tunisia we can talk about a society in progress.  Is our model, our democratic conception the perfect one for us and for “them”? Should we, western society, interfere with their society? Our democratic model took years, many years; centuries only with the different theories from 1800s could we create the society we have today. However, to do the same thing in the Middle East or Africa is difficult, maybe impossible. Because they have different cultures, they approach their problems in other ways. for example  in Saudi Arabia is okay to punish with violence someone who stole. We see it “wrong” but maybe the people in Saudi Arabia see that like the “perfect” justice, the right justice. Who said that that our conception of justice must be the best in the world?  Keynes in 1919, in Versailles, was the only one who said that to punish Germany would make suffer the German people, who will be disparate. Poverty would have led them (the german people) to desperate choices. What happened 20 years after Versailles, we know very well. Maybe France and Uk thought that it was the right thing to do in that moment. And Maybe The US and The UE are thinking that they are doing the right thing. However it does not matter how positive can be our reasons, because we have to respect the principle, that each nation  has sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs.

– Fraser, Nancy (2008), New Directions in Critical Theory : Scales of Justice : Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World

– Keynes J.M (1919), The Economic Consequences of the Peace.


2 comments to Is “Our” democratic model the perfect one?

  • lgissel

    Interesting argument that point to the cultural differences between societies and the possibility that accepted justice forms in one society may be rejected by another society. It points to the question of how much international society should decide in terms of the national preferences of different countries. Where does that leave international rules and standards, such as human rights? And does Saudia Arabians operate with a notion of rights? Are there some issues facing all societies that should be protected or isolated from a universalising discourse on e.g. rights, while other issues are OK to decide on internationally. It would also be interesting if you related your argument to the literature on just war theory.

  • JRasmussen

    Fine argument. It begs questions concerning the limits of cultural relativism as opposed to universal ideas of Human Rights. How do we balance them when we intervene in other countries? By what meassures?

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