*Topicality/Definitions Democracy Promotion Includes Military Intervention

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*Topic Wording*

2016 March/April LD Topic

Resolved: The United States ought to promote democracy in the Middle East.


Democracy Promotion Includes Military Intervention


Shahra Akbarzadeh & Benjamin MacQueen, Center for Islamic Studies, University of Melbourne & Sr. Lecturer in Political Inquiry-Monash University, 2013, American Democracy Promotion in the Changing Middle East: From Bush to Obama, eds. Akbarzadeh, MacQueen, Piscattori & Saikal, p. 2

The military response to September 11 against the Taliban/al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was swift and crushing. The same model was followed against Saddam Hussein after years of sanctions and diplomatic pressure. However, in both cases, despite quick and precise military operations, Washington needed a rationale to justify its continued presence once the old regime had been removed. Democracy promotion justified in terms of this neo-conservative vision provided the political cover for the lengthy and costly US presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. References to the importance of democracy promotion became the dominant theme, especially in relation to Iraq, as the United States failed to find thee feared weapons of mass destruction. Democracy was presented as the panache to the political and strategic malaise that affected the Middle East, most urgently the rise of violent Islamism. In a 2004 speech to the US Army War College in Pennsylvania, President George W. Bush made the following comments:

“Helping construct a stable democracy after decades of dictatorship is a massive undertaking. Yet we have a great advantage. Whenever people are given a choice in the matter, they prefer lives of freedom to lives of fear…The terrorists’ only influence is violence, and their only agenda is death. Our agenda, in contrast, is freedom and independence, security, and prosperity…”

As such, democracy promotion became an integral part of the ‘War on Terror’, providing the logic for activity outside the immediate security operations. The transition to democracy was presented as the antidote to the festering political alienation in authoritarian states, which provided an easy recruitment pool of violent groups like al-Qaeda. This linkage grew in popularity among US policy-makers, with Condoleezza Rice’s widely cited Cairo speech in 2005 was an articulation of its widespread appeal.

Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow Hoover Institute, In Search of Democracy, 2016, p. 425

At the extreme end of the range of instruments for promoting democracy is imposing it by force. Particularly in the wake of the 2003 US military invasion of Iraq, followed by a quasi-colonial, US-led, foreign occupation of the country, many Americans imagine coercion and imposition when they think of democracy promotion. President George W. Bush made the decision to invade Iraq on the basis of national security concerns. However, in the run-up to the war, and even more so in the aftermath (when weapons of mass destruction were not found), many hawks inside and outside the Bush Administration also justified the intervention by insisting that it could enable Iraq to emerge as a free (and pro-American) democracy, and a source of democratic diffusion throughout the Arab world.

Dionysis Markakis, Center for International and Regional Studies- Georgetown University, 2016, US Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: The Pursuit of Hegemony, p. 68

The final category of democracy promotion under G.W. Bush encompassed military intervention, exemplified in the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. The invasion concluded over a decade of hostilities between Saddam Hussein and the West, during which the US increasingly leant towards regime change. In the aftermath of 11 September, citing concerns about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism, the US unilaterally invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein, supported primarily by the United Kingdom. Democratization was cited as a justification, albeit secondary, although it later emerged as the main post-factum rationalization. The invasion of Iraq was underpinned by a number of strategic concerns, relating primarily to the preservation of core US interests in the region: access to oil and the security of Israel. Accordingly, the G.W. Bush administration saw the invasion of Iraq as an opportunity to restructure the increasingly stagnant security system the US had implemented in the region following the first Gulf War. But beyond the immediate aim of removing Hussein from power, the Bush administration saw the invasion of Iraq as an opportunity to transform not only the Iraqi state, but by example the entire region. As Larry Diamond argued:

“In its most extravagant expressions, the democratic transformation of Iraq is envisioned as a geopolitical earthquake that will shake Middle Eastern autocracies to their foundations and finally extend the global wave of democratization to the last major region to hold out against it.”

Democracy Promotion Includes Sanctions and Conditionality


Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow Hoover Institute, In Search of Democracy, 2016, p. 430-1

When efforts at moral or rational persuasion fail, democracies can increase the pressure by manipulating harder interests. This involves threatening or actually moving to impose costs on a country—and/or its key ruling elites—for violations of international norms of democracy and human rights. The range of tools here includes economic sanctions—reduction or suspension of aid and trade ties; diplomatic sanctions, such as the downgrading of diplomatic, cultural, and symbolic ties; military sanctions, such as the suspension of military aid, cooperation, and weapons sales, pursuit of a wider ban on arms sales to the country, and cutoffs of access to military-related technology; and aid conditionality. Whereas sanctions are punitive—imposing penalties for bad conduct—aid conditionality offers positive inducements of new flows of economic assistance if a country meets objective standards of democracy and good governance.

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