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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Part Of The Answer Is India

Powerline links to Lawrence Kudlow's article about the new possibility for a US/India partnership and all that it might imply. I think it is a terribly important step. India is a growing and genuinely democratic nation and her influence on the world at large will be good. As Paul at Powerline writes, things were very different 40 years ago:
Western Europe, meanwhile, was our key strategic ally and trading partner, playing the role (almost convincingly) of a bulwark against the world's leading Communist power and threat to peace.

Today, Kudlow shows, India more and more answers to that description.
See Minh-Duc at State Of Flux on the same subject:
Unlike rogue states like Iran and North Korea, India's word ought to be trusted and honored because India is an exemplary democracy. The current non-proliferation concept is outdated because it assumes that all countries (except the permanent five) are the same and equal. This unrealistic concept is the result of the moral equivalency. Liberal democracies are morally superior to undemocratic states. Liberal democracies are less likely to proliferate weapon-of-mass-destruction, less likely to engage in aggression against neighbors. India is such a country. In fact, so far India has show be far more responsible than Russia (which is sliding toward tyranny) and China (which is still a tyranny). Compare to Russia past behavior concerning their weapon arsenals, the concern of India is sorely misplaced.
India is a democracy. There's hope for Russia but they have not quite gotten the hang of the whole "law not men" bit. India has. If we really want to work with and support democracy in the world, that requires friendship and support with India just as it does with Japan.

In my little trip over to Chennai I was very impressed for a lot of reasons. India is going to be a significant player in the world for the foreseeable future and I think it's going to be one they do well.

It really is the type of place and country that we should be actively pursuing better relations with. And the food is really really good, so it's got that going for it as well. Which is a bonus.
while I agree that we should have strong ties with India, that whole claim that democracies do better with nuclear weapons isn't supported with India. Have we all forgotten about the several times that India and Pakistan have teetered on nuclear use?

Or that the only nation to ever use a nuclear weapon is the US?

I am not saying we should not have dropped the bomb on Japan, but democracies don't exactly have a great track record.
Dingo, well, you could say the same about us and the Soviet Union.

India has travelled a long hard road and relations between India and Pakistan are slowly improving.

Democracies are a lot less likely to start wars - their people don't like them.

Tommy, I agree. It has great, great potential as a country and it has a lot to offer the world. I would like to see it have a seat on the UN Council.

Hey - great food is nothing to sneeze at!
"Dingo, well, you could say the same about us and the Soviet Union."

Yes, exactly.

"Democracies are a lot less likely to start wars - their people don't like them."

That's a myth that dates all the way back to the Peloponnesian wars and has continued through the war in Iraq today. Please name me a democracy that has been around for more than 100 years that has not instigated a war.
"Democracies are a lot less likely to start wars - their people don't like them."

"Please name me a democracy that has been around for more than 100 years that has not instigated a war."

less likely does not mean never has. and it's an impossible point to prove or refute since wars tend to be fought over specific issues that change from conflict to conflict and there is no way to reasonably predict how a differing form of government would have dealt with those issues. I think MOM's statement is most likely true but I also realize it's like the parallel postulate, just because it sounds good and makes sense doesn't mean we can prove or disprove it. Off of the top of my head I can't think of any democracy pulling the equivalent of Japan or Germany in WW2 but I haven't looked into it at all either.

Democracies are hard to judge this way if for no other reason than historically there have been relatively few of them.
Ok, Tommy, how 'bout this. Name me a non-democracy that has initiated more wars than the United States since its inception?

In actuality, the only nation that has initiated more wars since then is another democracy... Britain.

The truth is is that there is no less "war-mongering" in democracies than in non-democracies. If there is a reason to go to war and the populace believes that the costs of war will be less than the benefits, democracies are just as likely to go to war as non-democracies. Don't get me wrong, I think democracies are better forms of governments, but that does not mean we are more peaceful. The reason we don't go to war with our other democratic friends is because we are economically interdependent with them. The costs of going to war with Britain would be too great not to work out a diplomatic agreement.

This is the same reason we give China such a easy time while cracking down on other nations that we don't agree with politically. We are economically interdependent with them. But, don't for a second think that democracies won't attack each other if times get tough.
Dingo, I don't agree with your contention but I don't want to write a doctoral treatise on the history of the last 2 centuries. It most certainly is appropriate for citizens of democracies to scrutinize their own actions very carefully.

Let me put it this way - measure the death toll of just the last century produced by totalitarian states versus that produced by those with representative governments. A war of response, a war of self-or-ally defense or a war in defense of innocents is not the same thing as a war of aggression. For one thing, the goals are different.

There are societies which literally live in a constant state of war, and that is not the ideal for the citizens of democracies.

Democracy will not make a population saintly, but it will give that population more options. Since the individuals in democracies must fight the wars they generally are war-averse even if that is only based on self-interest.

Despite intense rivalry with Pakistan, India has been quite restraint. It is the media who suggest that India and Pakistan sensationized and exagerate "the brink of nuclear war" meme. Beside the possession of nuclear warheads at the time of the crisis, there was no evidence they (India & Pakistan) that they intented to use them. Neither sides took the usual steps to prepare their nuclear warhead for uses, all the provocation and saber rattling were strictly conventional. In fact India has went out of its way (the credit goes to Pakistan as well) to make peace with Pakistan. Tyrannies would never do that out of good will.

As far as democracies (and I use the term interchangably with liberal democracies) are concerned, there were no instant where they have went to war with each other. Democracies frequently declared war on non-democracies, but not each other. This is because it is almost impossible for political leaders to justify such an act with the electorates. We may despise the French (and until recently India as well), not once did the possibility of going to war against them ever occured.
MOM - "measure the death toll of just the last century produced by totalitarian states versus that produced by those with representative governments."

The majority of these deaths are internal, not external - meaning they were killing their own people, not invading and killing in other counties. You have to remember that the only way a dictatorship can survive is by controlling its own populous. Many dictatorships have been brought down by turning their attention outwards instead of inwards.

"A war of response, a war of self-or-ally defense or a war in defense of innocents is not the same thing as a war of aggression."

We have faught Canada and Mexico. I don't think you could call either one a war of response or defense. It was about land, land, land. We have faught the Chinese and Spain, and it was about trade, trade, trade. We invaded Grenada and Panama, and it was about control, control, control.

Minh, So, if you are aggressive against a non-democracy, it doesn't count? No offense, but I think that is kind of absurd. And, in the future as more and more nations become democracies, they will find reasons to fight each other if the perceived benefits out way the costs. The same things that can keep democracies from fighting each other (the populous) can just as easily be the impetus to war. Again, I will refer you to the Peloponnesian wars. It was the democracy (masses) in Athens that kept the war going. You may say it was an ancient war with no current application, but you would be wrong. The thing that stops wars from happening is co-dependence, not the political regime.
Well it's a discussion or an argument with no end, since it can't be proven one way or the other. The evidence needed is that a particular conflict would, or would not, have happened if the form of government had been different.

For obvious reasons that evidence is lacking.

First of all, Athen was hardly a liberal democracy. It was an illiberal democracy. Secondly, the other belligerent was Sparta - one of the most brutal and oppresive regime in the Helenic world. It was not difficult to demonize Sparta. The US did not become a liberal democracy until the 20th century.

India is a liberal democracy with two minorities as head of state and head of government (a Muslim and a Sikh). It is too easy for government of a democracy to justify and legitimate a war against a non-democracies (particularly vile and oppresive ones). How does one argue for war against a country that share one democratic value? Also it is a serious logical fallacy to equate war against an oppresive regime and war against another democracy.

Your argument sounds like Fareed Zakaria line of reasoning. Fareed is brilliant but too cynical.
You may be right Tommy, but someone else being right has never stopped me before.

Mihn, please give me you definition of a liberal democracy. Maybe then I will better understand what you are saying in your arguement.
BTW, while Sparta was an oppressive society internally, it was actually quite liberal with its allies. Athens was actually the one who was quite oppressive to its empire. Think of it in terms of the British empire.
Dingo, one excellent way to identify a democracy as illiberal is if it confines voting rights to a small segment of the population. I read one estimate that no more than 20% of the adult males living in Athens could have had voting rights. I have read others saying it was less.

Athens was most definitely an aristocratic state. Relatively few people had a voice in public affairs. Consider it a South Africa.

Voting confined to a small elite class doesn't make a democracy. I agree with Minh-Duc that India is a liberal democracy. What I greatly admire is the incredible social barriers it has overcome to become one. That's why I say it has a lot to offer the world.

As for the validity of the death toll index, the reason internal death tolls are generally higher in totalitarian states is that that's where they have the most control. It is an excellent way to demonstrate what they would do if they had a wider scope.

Is there truly any need to allow such an experiment? I can't think so.

A liberal democracy has civil liberty, political freedom and equal opportunity. Simply a rule of the majority does not make one a liberal democracy. The majority can be quite oppresive to the minority. Both the US and India fits in this catergory.

And you must have forgotten that all the helots were former neighbors of Sparta. Sparta society at its max has only 10,000 citizens (qualified warriors), everyone else were helots. The British Empire was not as oppresive as some believe. It was oppresive only if you use today standard.
Look, I think liberal democracies is the way to go also. I just don't think it is the end-all-be-all of world peace. You could give every Iranian the right to vote, and I don't think that it would make Israel any more secure. In some situations, I think it could even make Israel less secure.

No, not all adult males living in Athens had voting rights, but neither do all adult males (and females) living in the US. Foreigners and slaves were not allowed to vote, but all native born Athenians were allowed to vote regardless of their social standing. But, just like NYC, Athens attracted a lot of outsiders because of their prosperity. I would be willing to bet the percentage of people living in NYC and are eligible to vote is far less than the percentage of Topeka.

As for the helots, yes, they were mainly Messinians enslaved after a war with Sparta. I agree that Sparta was very oppressive internally, but was much more liberal with its dealings with the regions under its control than the Athenians. Sparta demanded no tribute from its league members, while Athens would attack the cities in its league if they did not pay up.
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