I must be honest: I am shaking my head at the sense of wonder found in this essay on Iraqi electoral progress.
By far the most important thing about the preliminary results of Iraq’s April 30 parliamentary election is the nature of the conversation that is now taking place about them. It is a conversation about what it means for a sitting Prime Minister when he wins less than 30 percent of the vote but does much better than his rivals—and about whether Iraq’s next government should be one of broad national unity or formed on the basis of a simple majority. It is a conversation about deliciously esoteric and endlessly iterative matters of parliamentary arithmetic in a place where no identity group is close to monolithic and where almost any of the ten main factions is capable of working with any other.
It is a conversation, in other words, about government formation in a functional, stable, and constitutional electoral setting. There is no talk of coups, of disenfranchised minorities, or politicized electoral commissions. The process of forming the next government may take months, and current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is the front-runner, although his victory is far from certain. Whoever does emerge atop what Disraeli called the “greasy pole”, there is no chance of a government that harbors al-Qaeda or belongs to the mullahs in Tehran, that invades its neighbors, assassinates its enemies, or gasses its own people. All of these things are vote-losers in Iraq, and in Iraqi politics today it is the vote that matters most.
Well… yes, of course. That often happens when you take over a country for ten years and shoot every stupid son-of-a-bitch who prefers to solve his problems with an AK-47 or an IED. Look, I don’t pretend to understand the process where American occupation / long-term presence somehow transforms various autocratic states into places like Japan and Germany and South Korea. Maybe it’s our attitude. Maybe it’s a ritual magic spell. Maybe there’s bacteria in our bodies that generate liberty and democracy, and when enough GIs excrete in one place they ‘contaminate’ the local ecosystem*. Whatever the method is, it works. And it’s apparently kind of independent of whoever is running the USA at any given moment, which is frankly a bit of a relief.
Via Hot Air Headlines.
*Or maybe people just need an excuse to change things, and The Americans are here, and they look really, really pissed off is one of a hell of a change agent.