Sunday, January 16, 2005

Romanian Democracy Shows hope for Iraq.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article. Unlike the Ukraine (which as we saw is still struggling a little) the people of Romania are building a solid democracy. A peaceful transition of power from one party to the next is taking place, and Romania looks to join the EU. There are many Iraqi parallels.
Romanians lived under one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Millions were terrorized by the regime's secret police, the Securitate, while many others were compromised by collaboration with it. The regime exercised pervasive control over every aspect of people's lives, and suppressed deep ethnic and religious tensions between Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Roma and Serbs to maintain communist orthodoxy. The Romanian economy was plundered by the Soviet-style nomenklatura, and by the corrupt family of Romania's cruel, idiosyncratic dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.
This all changed 15 years ago. And while the road to democracy has been rough in Romania, the results seem to be worth it.

There are those who will point out that democracy was not "imposed" on Romania as we are doing in Iraq. To them, I would point out the example of Japan. Japan during and immediately preceding WWII, was not a true democracy. While not exactly a Shogunate, the military had a lot to say about government. Today Japan has a constitution written in American English that we "imposed" on them during 6 years of occupation at the end of WWII. The result speaks for itself. By the end of the 1950's, they had a vibrant economy, by the end of the 1960's they were eating our lunch in a few sectors, and after the oil crisis of the of the 1970's they had arrived in a big way. Are we sorry that we "imposed" democracy on them? I wonder if they are sorry.

Is success in Iraq a sure thing? Of course not - there are no guarantees in life. But it is important enough that we should support it as much as possible.

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