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January 04, 2008


Won Joon Choe

I completely agree about Bhutto's phony democratic credentials, Abiola. I am forever disgusted by how Western liberals are forever seduced by venal opposition non-Western politcos who wrap themselves up in the prestigious cloak of the "democrat" label to 1) distinguish themselves from authoritarians in power, and 2) to obtain Western support. More critical, the support for these illiberal populists have the effect of undermining authoritarian regimes that are, however authoritarian, given the circumstances, the best we can do and may even be liberalizing.

Western intellectuals must learn that there are few genuine liberals or democrats in the non-Western world. And in the rare cases there are such men, and they do seize power--perhaps as was in the case of Chang Myun ("John Chang") after the fall of Syngman Rhee--such naive amateurs are easily swallowed up by the forces that they cannot control.

There are many illustrations of the phony democrat phenomenon, but perhaps the most egregious example is Kim Dae Jung--who was actually regarded as a man of Gandhi-like stature in the gullible West.


[...Western intellectuals must learn that there are few genuine liberals or democrats in the non-Western world...]

Care to provide any evidence in favor of this view? For so far as I can see, the record is that western governments have show a far greater proclivity for supporting tyrannical governments in the 3rd world, over and above any alternatives, liberal or otherwise. Furthermore, that there are genuine liberals or democrats in the West itself is a point worthy of great debate - liberalism as a political system: an emergent system resulting from the existence of several selfish actors does not necessarily infer the existence of a preponderance of liberals or democrats in the West itself.

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