I keep hearing the mantra about free democratic societies, and how democracy is the answer to authoritarian regimes. Apparently spreading democracy to Iraq was supposed to be this utopian solution and alternative to the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein. I think this whole idea stems from the democracies there were set up in Western Europe after WWII. Those democracies did take hold, and those societies became freer as a result. I have to wonder if those weren't historical anomalies. Democracy by its very nature is fractious; different parties form with different political goals, ideologies, often demographics. This is not a bad thing if a country is relatively homogenous, as most of the Western European countries were (or used to be). In Japan and South Korea, democracy took hold with relative ease (later for South Korea than Japan). In America, it has taken shape over hundreds of years, from not really democratic in the beginning to now. I think that the long established institutions are sufficiently strong to overcome the diversity of the populace for now. In the Middle East, I'm not sure that it would work out to pretty. What do we have over there? Cultures and traditions that reach back thousands of years. Old ways that just won't die. There is also a competing ideology of theocracy entrenched in the majority religion Islam. Given that there is often a cycle of violence even within the various sects of Islam, I wonder how a fractious system of government could actually work. For instance, there are tribal bonds and loyalties that precede the modern nation states that were carved out of colonialism in the past century or so. These modern nation states are like artificial boons over a sea of preceding culture and tradition. These modern nation states have generally been headed by strongmen since their inception, often having coups resulting in one strongman replacing another. If the strongman is taken out of the equation with a fractious population used to being unified by the authoritarian nature of the regime heading their nation state, what I believe happens is they revert to their traditional tribalism, and the nation state falls apart. I believe that is what we see in Iraq. I believe that is what happened in Somalia with the fall of their dictator. Given the fractious nature of tribalism is not conducive to a unified national government, I have to wonder if democracy could actually work in the Middle East. After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was all this joy and the prospect of democracy and freedom in Russia and beyond. Throughout history, there has never been a time when there was not a strongman of sorts in power. It is part of the national psyche to have a leader to look up to. It's really no surprise to me that over the last 20 years, Russia has been reverting back to authoritarianism. I'm tired right now, but I'll share more thoughts a little later. Except to say, why are people blindly pushing this idea that democracy works always and without fail?