How Democracies commit Suicide.
There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.- John Adams
This is an astonishing statement coming from one of America's Founding Fathers. In this article, I will try to explain how politicians often place personal ambitions ahead of national interest to the point of destroying their own country that they claim to serve.
For a start, it may be a suprise to many that political rivalries in democracies can lead to votrepreneurs (politicians) reaching out to the country's enemies. I came across an interesting passage in the book, 'The President, the Pope and the Prime Minister' by John O'Sullivan.
Senator Edward Kennedy met with President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union in 1986 and held talks with him and other Soviet leaders. One of them was Vadim Zagladin, deputy head of the International Department, whose records of his own talks with Kennedy were declassified following the demise of the Soviet Union.
According to Zaglady's notes (1), Kennedy told him that following Reagan's meeting with Gorbachev in Geneva, 'the senator's speculations seemed to suggest that Geneva was a great success for Reagan and a doubtful one for us (the Soviets).'
In Kennedy's words according to Zaglady, '... The average American sees the situation as follows: "Reagan has managed to establish contacts with the Russians, gaining much from them, but giving nothing. He is a great leader!" '
Kennedy wanted Gorbachev to be
firmer with Reagan in their
Kennedy was unhappy that Reagan was popular with the American people because he gained much from the Russians and conceded little. As a political opponent of Reagan, he of course wanted Reagan to be as unpopular as possible. Thus he ended up telling the Russians, 'No, it was not (a mistake to go to Geneva), but you should keep pressing, be firmer.'
Kennedy went on to give Zagladin practical advice on how to outdo Reagan in the next round of negotiations. Zagladin wrote:
'We (the Russians) should choose two or three points which could be achieved and constantly put pressure on Reagan in order to restrict his freedom of maneuver. These points might be the following: confirmation of the ABM treat; restriction of the nuclear test limits and a cut in their number; missiles in Europe' (though Reagan, Kennedy said, will demand the elimination of missiles from Asia.
Summarizing, Kennedy said, "The present complacency of the Americans, their almost Christmas mood, must be broken. You should put more pressure, and firmer pressure, on Reagan ... And, of course, I shall think over what can be done on my side, on the Senate's side. At the Congress session, I shall report on my meeting with Gorbachev. I will speak in the country as many times as neccessary. Gorbachev is right, we shoul not miss this opportunity." '
From this account, you can see that the votrepreneurer's (politicians) first concern is in acquiring, retaining and increasing his own power - even when it is detrimental to his own country's interests. Often, a votrepreneurer would rather be Captain of a sinking frigate than to be a First Mate of sea-worthy aircraft carrier. From this exchange it seems to me that what Kennedy wanted was to bring Reagan's popularity down and that was why he wanted the Russians to be tougher in their negotiations with Reagan. He was prepared to co-operate with the Russians so that Reagan won't get the best deal for America because he, I assume, did not want Reagan to look good to the voters. Thus there is a similarity of interests with America's enemies.
The west has defeated Communism in the Cold War though many in the Leftist parties do not accept the verdict. Currently, the main threat to the west is Radical Islamism in the context of a growing Muslim community in Europe. The Leftist parties still contain many unrepentant Marxists who dream of bringing in their Socialist Utopia. Thus, again we see, an alliance of the Left with the forces that threaten the west - this time from Radical Islam.
For example, Marxist mayor of London, Ken Livingstone (red Ken) seems to be courting the Muslim vote in the city. He has invited Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi to London and praised him for his 'moderate' views. This is inspite of the fact that the Sheikh called for suicide bombing of Israelis, the killing of homosexuals and beating of wives as a husbandly right. (2)
Red & Green together: Ken Livingstone & Yusuf Qaradawi. The left is usually hostile to religion unless its Islam.
Meanwhile, the Labor Party passed the Racial & Religious Hatred Act in 2006. This was seen as a move to appease its Muslim voters after Blair supported Bush so resolutely in Iraq. Fortunately, the final Act that was passed was much watered down after considerable objections were raised that it might restrict free speech.
Left Wing parties in Europe are also very pro-immigration because they see an alliance with the Muslim immigrants would bring in enough votes to win or stay in power. You can see the sentiments by this astonishing statement from Hanne Andersen, a Danish Social Democrat:
"I have for many years been of the opinion that it is incomprehensible that some people (especially from the Danish People's Party) think they have a greater right than other people to live in a specific part of the earth. All people, all over the world, who have respect for others, their religion, culture, history and values have, as far as I'm concerned, an equal right to live wherever they want to."
It is quite clear that these Left-Wing votrepreneurers want power by getting the Muslim vote without considering the long term consequences of Muslim immigration into Europe.
After all, they won't be around by then. As I said, in my earlier article, 'Democracy needs a Reformation', this is one of the weaknesses of democracy.
They don't see, or don't care, that putting people of different races, religions and languages together would raise tensions. Its just human nature. But if the immigrants are Muslims, the difficulties are much worse. Muslim immigrants are the most difficult to assimilate and most of the conflicts around the world involve Muslims.
Its just too politically incorrect for the left to examine critically any other cultures other than their own Christian heritage. In an insightful essay, Fjordman explores the connection between political correctness and Marxism and how it became so deeply imbedded in the West's cultural elite in the Universities and the news medias. (3) Fjordman wrote:
"The Left have become ideological orphans after the Cold War, or perhaps we should call them ideological mercenaries. Although the economic alternative to capitalism didn’t work out, their hatred for this system never subsided, it merely transformed into other forms. Multiculturalism is just a different word for "divide and conquer," pitting various ethnic and cultural groups against each other and destroying the coherence of Western society from within."
Critics of Islam are silenced by accusations of racism even though Islam is a religion, not a race. While the left cannot tolerate criticism of Islam, it welcomes criticism of Christianity and Europe's Christian heritage.
In fact, the left sees Christian traditions as an obstacle to the Socialist Utopia that they dream of. The want a heaven on earth inspite of the fact that all attempts to create one has failed miserably. For the Left, their beliefs are a kind of religion as I pointed out in an earlier article, 'Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The left and Islam.'
But what would the future of Europe be like, if the votrepreneurers on the Left continue to support immigration from Muslim countries? They should take a look at Lebanon, a formerly Christian majority country which is now Muslim majority.
Lebanon was once a prosperous country when Christians had a clear majority. But higher birth rates of its Muslim population led to a change in political power following a Civil War in which the Christians lost. Today, the country is in ruins.
Could a Civil War erupt in Europe in the future? With the relatively higher Muslim birth rates compared to classical Europeans, the Muslims would use the one-man-one vote system to press to reorder society along their preferred lines. This would alarm the classical Europeans who would feel that their way of life is passing away.
Soon, right wing votrepreneurers would capitalize on this and fan the flames of communal tensions. We can learn some lessons on how this might happen by looking at the Yugoslavian experience.
Following the Fall of the Berlin Wall, most Communist leaders fell from power. The few exceptions were found in Yugoslavia. How did they, at least for a time, survive the transition to a more democratic system?
People like Slobodan Milosovich (Serbian leader) and Franjo Tudjman (Croatian leader) managed to stay in power by fanning the flames of communal hatred. The career of Slobodan Milosovich is instructive of what might happen in Europe in a generation's time. He rose to the top of the Serbian Communist party by the old fashion way in the Communist system - through patronage and connections. His chief patron was Ivan Stambolic.
As Stambolic rose through the hierarchy, he took Milosovich with him often passing him the same post that he vacated. In exchange, of course, Milosovich gave Stambolic rock solid loyalty. Milosovich was seen as nothing more than Stambolic's sidekick with a dull Communist hardline reputation.
By 1987, it was clear that Communism was crumbling throughout Eastern Europe. The writing was on the wall and Milosovich needed a political makeover to survive.(4) His opportunity came when his old boss, Stambolic sent him to Kosovo to quell ethnic tensions between Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Albanians.
In a stunning act of betrayal, Milosovich did the opposite. He decided to pose as the champion for Serbian nationalism in contradiction to years of Communist policy of suppressing ethnic tensions. Fanning the flames of ethnic tensions, he organised demonstrations by ethnic Serbs to portray them as victims of Albanian oppression so as to pose as their champion. Deliberately creating ethnic tensions in order to pose as a protector for an ethnic group is precisely what people like Al Sharpton are doing in the USA.
Posing as a champion for allegely oppressed Serbs in Croatian, Bosnian and Albanian areas allowed Milosovich a high degree of popularity to overcome the unpopularity of being a discredited Communist. He placed his friends in key places of the media to control it. State controlled TV and newspapers played up stories of massacres inflicted on the Serbian population by Croats during the Second World War. Milosovich and the Serbian Communist Party, now renamed the Socialist Party of Serbia was returned to power in 1990 following elections.
Meanwhile, the image of vengeful Serbs also allowed Franjo Tudjman to pose as a champion and protector of the Croats. Instead of dampening ethnic tensions as in the days of Tito where news of past massacres were suppressed, both sides played up hatred. Two former Communists remained in power by opening the Pandora's box of ethnic hatred and blood.
Could Europe tip into civil war if the Muslim population grows larger? Of course the Yugoslavian experience is not completely similar to the rest of Europe. For starters, the news media was controlled and there has been a long history of violence between the various communities. But I think that the Yugoslavian civil war gives us valuable lessons in how votrepreneurers will react to acquire and stay in power. Unless Muslims assimilate with the rest of the European community, which they are not doing, then I can safely say that votrepreneurers in seeking to court the Muslim or classical European vote will raise the ethnic tensions so as to pose as protectors of their communities.
A civil war or at least grave civil strife is likely in one of two generations time. John Adams was right. Democracies contain the seeds of its own destruction.
(1)See page 254 of the book, 'The President, the Pope and the Prime Minister.
(3)Gates of Vienna blog
(4)See the book, 'The Serbs' by Tim Judah. Page 161 to 163.