Natan Sharansky, a survivor of the Soviet Gulag explains that dictatorships are just gangs that use force to monopolize a society’s wealth. That means dictators have no way of retiring – having killed, mutilated and raped to stay in power, they have millions of sworn enemies and can’t retire to a condo on the Euphrates.
That makes democracy a death sentence for dictators. They used to escape to London and Paris, but globalization makes these no longer safe even for good guys. So dictators have to hang on to power.
That means they have good reason to hate and fear the growth of democracy in neighbors – they set a bad example to their own subject people. That’s why Iran and Syria are destabilizing the new Iraqi democracy, and why Syria is killing Lebanese politicians and has nourished Hizbollah as its army of occupation.
The “realists” don’t get this because they can retire without being killed – after Blair leaves power, he’s safe on the Anglo lecture circuit, and Baker has survived comfortably in spite of his complicity in the policies of Bush 41. So in offering deals to the dictators of Syria and Iran, they don’t understand these folks have no choice but to eliminate all trace of democracy from their neighborhoods.
But good may come of their ignorance. By encouraging the Syrian dictator to return to his murderous ways, they’ve made a Lebanese civil war almost inevitable. Here’s the leader of the Lebanese Druze (my ellipsis):
Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the country’s Druze community who has turned against Syria in recent years, said he expected the regime of (Syrian) President Bashir al-Assad to carry on attacking troublesome MPs.
“We have to expect, and this is my impression unfortunately, more assassinations of ministers and parliamentarians,” he told a news conference. “It seems the Syrian regime will continue with the assassinations. I expect more assassinations but no matter what they do, we are here and we will be victorious.”
Schools and shops were closed in Beirut and there was little traffic on the roads as Gemayel’s coffin, covered in the flag of the Phalange Party, the leading Christian party founded by his grandfather, was brought to the family’s home village of Bikfaya in the Metn mountains east of the capital.
So this is shaping up to be a bloody civil war, in which the Israelis will give aid and comfort to the Druze and Christian communities while taking a whack at the Syrians to keep them out of the fight. If democracy prevails and Syria is humbled the Iraqi democrats will gain heart. And maybe the oppressed Iranians too.
In that case Blair and Baker will go down in history not as appeasers but liberators.
But if Mideast democracy is destroyed, millions of Middle Easterners will curse the names of Blair and Baker – and maybe the lecture circuit won’t be quite so safe after all.