uploaded : Sunday 20th Apr 2003 at 16:33
by : Jock Falkson
April 20, 2003
Over the years, the US and some 144 other nations have developed a special way of looking after their international trading interests. These are the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) who have granted each other “most favored nation” status.
The signatories to this treaty have agreed to accord each other the same favorable terms that are offered in agreements with any other member nation. Nations not under the protective WTO umbrella are obviously at a disadvantage.
Why not a similar agreement to permit those of the world’s democracies who so wish, to band together in an alliance of self-interest? And to encourage regime change in non-democratic countries?
The US, UK and some 45 other nations came together in a coalition of the willing to make war on Iraq. Its war aims were to prevent Iraq developing and deploying Weapons of Mass Destruction; and to bring about regime change. The coalition would liberate the people of Iraq from the rule of a tyrant. Democracy would be introduced.
Cost of the War on Iraq
The cost of that war to rid the world of the corrupt dictator, Saddam Hussein, his family and cohorts, is likely to exceed some $150 billion. Half for the war, half for repairing the consequences.
Might not the cost in lives, money, and upheaval provide the impetus for the US, with some nations from the coalition, to innovate an Alliance of Most Favored Democracies?
As in the WTO, members of such a group would favor each other politically and economically. A mutually agreed schedule of benefits could be established, subject to change and development.
Valued membership privileges
Membership would be based on mutual self-interest and a belief that democracy, warts and all, offers citizens of oppressed nations the freedom of a better alternative.
The Alliance would be open to all democracies. It would motivate applications from wanna-be democracies. Primarily because they would each share valued membership privileges and advantages. Most important, the Alliance would provide aid and protection for any country aspiring freedom from despotic control.
Promoting regime change
The only alternative these days to dynastic rule by presidents, kings or emirs, whether despotic or benign, is rule by the army. The commanding general however, is quite likely to become just another dictator.
The most important value of the Alliance would be to underpin the desire of peoples living under dictatorships or monarchies, giving them the hope of successful change. It would give the people a raison d’etre to clamor for a better life . . . to agitate for democratic self government.
Knowing that if their country became a democracy they would be free at last. No longer the servants of their rulers. Free to choose their leaders, free to be responsible for their own future.
“To my son Bashar I leave my country, Syria,
its wealth and its people.”
Think of the late President of Syria who arranged for his son Bashar to inherit his country and its people. Or king Hussein of Jordan who nominated his son Abdullah to become the owner of Jordan and to rule over the Jordanian people on his death. Or for that matter Saddam who was grooming his son Uday to succeed him.
What gives these leaders such divine rights? What gives their heirs the moral right to own a people and the treasures of its land?
Core principles of the Alliance
Here are some for starters:
? Where member states would be subject to the rule of law.
? Where freedom of religion would be respected and different religions tolerated.
? Where free parliamentary elections would be held every few years.
? Where free enterprise would be the ruling economic principle and would empower citizens to become middle class and wealthy. (As Deng Xiaoping acknowledged, "It is glorious to be rich"!)
? Where countries of the Alliance would never make war on each other.
? Where the Alliance would defend against an outside aggressor on the basis of ‘all for one and one for all’.
? Where there would be respect for human rights.
? Where people would not disappear after arrest without trial.
? Where there would be no secret police to terrorize, torture and bully citizens to toe the dictator's line.
? Where the government would not harbor the terrorists of other countries or export terrorism.
? Where terrorism would be accorded zero tolerance.
? Where citizens who legally suffer the death penalty would not be hanged in the public square to intimidate others.
? Where limbs or body parts would not be cut off as punishment.
? Where women would enjoy equal rights and not be the property of men.
? Where it would be murder to stone (or otherwise put to death) a woman for committing adultery.
? Where “honor” killings would be murder and the murderers brought to justice.
? Where the preaching and teaching of hatred for other nationalities or minorities would have no official sanction nor subsidy.
Israel should be invited to join as a founding member. It should not be excluded because Arab countries won’t join. For if this is their reason for not affiliating, this would be the reason for their disqualification. Same goes for those European countries whose hatred of Jews and Israel seems to be incurable.
Mission impossible, you say? Not for the U.S.A.