Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Bush-Blair show is fast becoming a real farce. The false hope they have been given by the UN vote has now led them to offer at the G8 summit plans for "greater Nato involvement in Iraq, plans to bring western-style democracy and economic reform to the Middle East and north Africa and a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." World peace? AIDS? The Springbok flyhalf problem? Whilst they're at it, why not solve all the world's issues.

For once, I agree with Chirac. You cannot force American-style democracy on Islamic states, it simply does not fit. Islamic countries need to build their own style of democracy, taking into account their ideological Islamic needs, and their economic and social realities. Western values and Islamic values have grown in different paths over many centuries, and it is short-sighted and simplistic to assume that American democracy can be placed over current structures.

Of course, in reality, the timing smacks of electioneering. Both Bush and Blair are facing troubled waters with the US elections in November, and the probable UK elections early-mid 2005, a movement toward democratic values in the Middle East would be a vindication for much of the recent skewed Middle East foreign policy.