[lit-ideas] Re: The winner has already been selected?

  • From: Judy Evans <judithevans001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 22:35:25 +0000


Friday, December 3, 2004, 8:06:05 PM, Phil Enns wrote:

PE> But a more important point is that whoever is elected will have to have
PE> broad appeal, something extremists usually lack.

I agreed, adding

JE>But who decides what broad appeal is and whether a candidate has it?

I should have said that "broad appeal" assumes a unimodal preference system or 
structure/culture; or a series of groups to which a candidate can feasibly 
appeal (say, those who form the Old Democrat coalition forged in part in and of 
the recession and the New Deal); and an absence of intense structural, 
cultural, etc. cleavages (such as the East/West split in the Ukraine. Moreover 
as a genuinely democratic notion it rests on the absence of possible permanent 
minorities (such as the Sunnis in Iraq).

I confess I had to check the Shias before writing this. The first hit (for Shia 
+majority +Iraq) is

White House getting used to idea of Shia government


..there is a growing expectation in Washington that a coalition dominated by 
religious parties of the Shia majority is likely to emerge as the first Shia 
Muslim government in the Arab world.

One US official, an expert on the Middle East, reflected on the unforeseen 
consequences of last year's invasion.

"Now we are willing to countenance a limited theocracy in Iraq, limited by a 
weak basic law that guarantees basic civil liberties," said the official, who 
asked not to be named. "That was not the original idea."

The sweeping vision of neoconservatives ofasecular, democratic Iraq that would 
transform the political equation in the region and recognise Israel had been 
shattered, said the official.


Reuel Gerecht, a former CIA operative who joined AEI, believes the US 
administration is prepared for a lot of Sunni not to vote because of 
intimidation or boycott. "But they are not fully prepared for the Shia winning 
and Allawi possibly going down."


  And once elected, the
PE> individual will have to deal with the facts on the ground, namely over
PE> 150,000 coalition soldiers in the country, no viable army or police force
PE> and a deeply divided and suspicious population.  A successful politician
PE> will therefore have to be a skilled mediator. 

a successful democratic politician (as opposed to one who is elected) yes, and 
indeed, rather more, I'd have thought, than that.  But the conditions also 
suggest the possibility of a fairly autocratic rule and the abandoning of a 
notion -- if there is one -- of uniting Sunni and Shia.

 Again, Al-Zarqawi would be
PE> ruled out.

The (not all that serious) suggestion was that Al-Zarkawi "(or someone 
similar)" could be elected, not that s/he would be able to run Iraq even 
tolerably well.

 Judy Evans, Cardiff, UK   

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