Reviews, Reflections, Recollections

Just a blog filled with my usual irreverent observations about life and all that.

Location: Singapore, Singapore

enjoys reading and is perpetually trying to find space for all of the books he owns in his room. He also enjoys films, and in particular, going to the cinema. Although a self-confessed trivia buff, reports that he is an insufferable know-it-all are completely unfounded. He enjoys a nice glass of tipple now and then, be it a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a single malt whisky.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Highly Unproductive Day, Condi and Iraq

Woke up late again and pottered around. Got a bite to eat and starting surfing a bit on the net as per normal. Got a phone call from home which was nice - I don't call home often enough and I guess it is only right that I let my parents know that I am still alive.

No idea where most of the evening went. Organized the piles of International Relations notes that have accumulated in my room, and read an article, but that was the sum of what I managed. Listened to Condolezza Rice make a speech on BBC online from Blackburn of all places, where she admitted to the US making 'tactical errors' in Iraq, though defending the overall US policy to invade. I claim that it was relevant to what I am studying, albeit indirectly, particularly in the topic of Democratic Peace Theory. Proponents of Democratic Peace claim that democracies tend to have a special relationship with other democracies, reducing their likelihood of going to war against each other. Realists claim that this is inherently false. The relevance here is that one of the foremost justifications for the war in Iraq was 'regime change' and the Bush administration seems to suggest that one major long term US goal is to encourage the growth of freedom in the region, specifically through the process of democratization.

The problem with that is two fold. Firstly, some IR scholars have shown that countries in the process of democratization are likely to be more unstable in terms of their relations with other states that full dictatorships or full democracies. Second, there is an important difference between a democracy and a liberal democracy as outlined by Fareed Zakaria - a democracy taken loosely merely means a country whose government is brought about through free, fair and representative elections. This has been brought to the limelight by the Palestian elections which were won by Hamas. The US might not want to admit it, but Ahmadenijad, the current Iranian president, who is threatening to develop nuclear weapons for Iran, was elected to his position, even if the elections were not fully democratic. Finally, scholars have also suggested that building basic infrastructure is not enough to bring about significant change and that it will take decades for liberal democratic change to take root, if ever.

Well I had decided to stay at home today and try and study, which was an easier option considering the amount of books and materials that I would have to cart around otherwise. Having realized the futility of this option, it is back to the library for me tomorrow.