YA-O-O-O-W-L! …

(American exceptionalism and misguided [W.] Bush, Obama-aided foreign policy)

A combination of two Greek words—demos (common people, people, the masses), and kratia (rule). Thus, rule by people. More specifically, rule by the common people or masses.

At even a tribal level it is rare that all persons will be allowed to vote. Rather, the demos (voting group) will be all adult males, all adults, or a variation, depending upon who or what is being voted on. Always there are age restrictions. Women are sometimes excluded altogether. Excepting in a family vote, and even then rarely, the demos is never everyone.

The Greek city state of Athens, hailed as the “cradle of democracy,” and later Rome, also a model for modern democracy, never for an instant conceived of all people, the complete masses voting. Women could not vote, nor children. Nor slaves, who vastly outnumbered Roman citizens. Ownership of property was often a voting prerequisite.

The ideal has always been that a thoughtful, informed, deserving demos make up the voting block. Which makes sense.

It did not occur to the Founding Fathers of the new nation of America, extolled to this day for their wisdom and foresight, to allow all adults to vote at the national level. Women were disenfranchised. So were non-property owning adult white males. Notoriously enshrined in the American Constitution, property-owning male African-American freemen were accorded but 2/3rds the vote of white males.

Today, virtually all American adults 21 and older may vote. However, a felony conviction bars some two million American adults (disproportionately of color) from voting in many states. There is ongoing debate whether 18 year olds, eligible to fight in the military, should be permitted to vote.

In a recent historic vote on whether to break from Great Britain and form an independent nation—won 55-45 percent by the nays—, Scotland extended an unprecedented vote to citizens as young as 16 (with no apparent ill effect). Given that lives of Scottish youth in particular would be greatly impacted by a vote of such historic bearing, it was reasoned youth down to the lowest imagined level of thoughtfulness should be given a say.

Historically, of course, efforts have always been afoot to suppress and discourage votes of those believed to favor an opposing viewpoint. Physical intimidation and poll taxes imposed upon southern black voters were effective until the latter were struck down as unconstitutional.

Recently, a conservative United States Supreme Court refused (in a split 5-4 vote of its own) to halt a law passed by a republican Texas legislative, one of many such republican state initiatives, requiring photo identification in order to be permitted to vote. Called a “poll tax” by democrats and the United States Department of Justice, which opposed the law, the effect for the November, 2014 election was thought to be discouragement and disenfranchisement of poor and minority voters, thought to be more sympathetic to democratic issues.

Following many centuries of national rule by dictators and royalty (autocracy), clergy (theocracy), and the wealthy (plutocracy), the United States of America in the eighteenth century (1779) came into being as the first modern national entity of note to embrace rule by the people—democracy.

Following liberation from aristocratic England under King George, adoption of democratic rule in America was regarded as highly subversive and threatening to non-democratic nation entities around the globe. And rightly so. Precisely the American example inspired the French Revolution and overthrow of French aristocratic rule under King Louis XIV, and the beheading of aristocrats. The Russian revolution and overthrow of aristocratic czarist rule at the turn of the twentieth century traces roots back to the American democratic revolution. This latter upheaval, of course, resulted in communist dictatorial rule (autocracy), not democracy as Americans understand it.

American (constitutional) democracy is today regarded by many around the world and most Americans as the best form of government history has ever seen. Insurgent movements bent on overthrowing autocratic and dictatorial rule often (not always) view American democracy as the model for the new order and government hoped for.

In the eyes of many who view the United States and its model of government and civic life as conceived and brought forth by no less an authority than God–American Exceptionalism–, American democracy has taken on the mantle of religion. Moreover, a religion to be spread far and wide among nations.

The idea of American Exceptionalism, a nation and model conceived by God himself, is as old as the founding of America. However, up until roughly the presidency of the second George Bush, efforts to spread American democracy to other nations was not part and parcel of American foreign policy. To the contrary, autocratic, aristocratic, even dictatorial regimes favorable to American interests—Saudi Arabia, South Vietnam, Iraq under Saddam Hussein—were seen as allies and supported. The United States had no initial objection to Hitler-led Nazi Germany and Mussolini-led facist Italy. (Nor Franco-led facist Spain.)

At the same time, where democratically-elected governments abroad proved hostile to American interests, American foreign policy, including covert CIA operations, was designed to subvert, even overthrow such regimes. Thus, the democratically elected Allende government in Chile was overthrown, to be replaced by an America-approved military dictatorship. Likewise, the democratically-elected government of Iran was overthrown and replaced by the hated Shah dictatorship, subsequently overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini-led Muslim theocracy that rules Iran to this day. (BTW, opposed prior to the first Gulf War by American-supported Saddam Hussein, before he in turn overstepped and incurred American ill will).

Enter American Exceptionalism and fervor to spread American-style democracy abroad.

Prodded by “neo-con” (new [philosophy] conservative) advisors who believe America has a duty to spread American-style democracy, freedom, and values to peoples worldwide, President George W. Bush waved the flag of “spreading democracy” as he engineered an invasion to overthrow former American ally, now member of the “Axis of Evil”—Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

No question but Saddam Hussein was a brutal, odious leader. He ruled with an iron fist. He imprisoned all believed to oppose his regime and subjected them to torture. He used chemical weapons to suppress members of an opposing religious constituency (Shiites) and an ethnic minority seeking self-determination (Kurds).

At the same time the first president Bush, George W’s father, saw fit to stop short of invasion and regime change in the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. Nor was Saddam Hussein of a kind and degree more objectionable than other dictators America has cooperated with.

The debacle of Iraq and Afghanistan after 13 years of war notwithstanding, the flag and mantra of Spreading (American-style) Democracy to the rest of the world has continued unchallenged under President Obama.

On a recent visit to Myanmar (a/k/a “Burma”), which, owing in large measure to American-led pressure has transitioned from total iron-fisted autocratic (military dictatorship) rule to more relaxed, tentative manifestations of personal freedom, President Obama pointedly ignored the autocratic ruler and courted Myanmar’s foremost proponent of democratic rule—one Aung San Sun Kyi, a woman educated in London.

Mr. Obama praised democratic-style reforms, while chiding non-democratic steps and urging Myanmor to become the nation “it can be”—i.e., more like America and “free” western nations.

As America confronts North Korea, Russia, China, successive Egyptian regimes, Assad in Syria, and non-wholly-inclusive (of minority Sunnis) Iraq leadership yet again, always the background drumbeat echoes American and western (nation) democratic ideals— “All people have a right to be free. All people have a right to vote, Democracy, self-determination, …”

Here’s the problem.

American-style democracy in other countries is not necessarily a good idea for America.

First, understand where the Yowling Wolf is coming from.

The Wolf is first and foremost for family. Your family versus mine? … Wolf is not about fairness. Wolf does not give credence to a view of yours that is antithetical to his family. The Wolf does not care about or give credence to your vote!

Get real! Wolf and his Yowls are reality based. No pie in the sky nonsense!

Beyond Wolf’s family, Wolf is for country (including you, if you are a fellow citizen). Also for fellow citizens of the planet. The Yowling Wolf wishes every man, woman, child, and beast a safe, happy, long life.

But not at Wolf’s expense, not at Wolf’s family’s expense, not at Wolf’s nation’s expense.

Disagree?! Then open your doors to all and sundry. Go give your stuff to your neighbor! Expose your neck trustingly to whomever.

American-style democracy in other countries means people voting for what THEY want and (presumably) what is good for their country. That is not necessarily in the best interests of America. Often it surely is not. Many voters in other lands, including nations that are allies, do not like America.

Exhibit One is the Islamist-leaning governments elected in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere. Democratic voting in the 1950’s and 60’s often resulted in Marxist-leaning governments whose ideology and policies were antithetical to American interests. Ditto for regimes put forward by popular vote in certain countries today.

President George W. Bush (with whom The Wolf has had some personal contact, albeit a long time ago) is not stupid. However, intellectually he is disinterested. A cowboy wannabe, he likes to shoot from the hip. He does not bother to think things through.

If he had, he would have realized that even in America democracy is a fragile thing. Too often it is manipulated and suppressed in this country by powerful, anti-democratic forces, chief among them money. To suppose that simply unleashing democracy—everyone voting—in countries with far less education, far more tribal and religious influence, far less experience with and far fewer traditions of fair play, etc. would result in …

Well, what the heck did Bush and his neo-con advisors think American-style Democracy was going to result in in places like Iraq and Afghanistan?!

What does Obama think?

Is American leadership that naive, that stupid?!

President Obama is smarter than Bush. He reads. He thinks deeply.

What is his excuse for allowing the charade of “democracy is good for them (and us)” to proceed unchecked and unquestioned? Does he think he will seem unpatriotic? (Quite the contrary!) Does he fear being pilloried by haters on the right? (Take the fools on!) Does he think the American people are too dense to grasp the meaning of the following?:

“America’s democratic style of government is a marvel and a blessing. However, even here it must withstand corrupting influences. Bringing American-style democracy to other countries is a fine idea. Individual freedom and one man (or woman), one vote is in the highest American tradition.

However, we must be careful in promoting our democracy and values elsewhere. Other countries lack our education and traditions. What voters in other countries want may not be in our best interests. Many in the world envy and dislike Anerica.

Therefore, while we applaud efforts at democratic reform abroad, always we must keep American interests uppermost. If that means for the time being cooperating with a hostile anti-democratic regime that suppresses its people, such as Assad in Syria (such as Saddam in Iraq, such as the thug Putin in Russia, such as the communists in China), then we shall do so.

This is called wise. This is called realpolitik. This is called common sense.”

The view and sentiments of the Yowling Wolf.


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