Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Yesterday I bemoaned the lack of international acclaim for the significance of the signing of Iraq's interim constitution. My point was that the world's most nascent democracy could certainly use a little encouragement.

I mean...there are those who believe "It Takes A Village" to raise a child. One might imagine a parallel supposition for raising up a brand new democracy.

My friend John sent a list of links overnight - links to news stories indicating international acclaim.

He translates for me a quote from Japan, saying "This is an important step towards the legitimacy of the new Iraq political process. Thus our country/government welcomes it."

I was unable to open a couple of the links John sent...but the ones I could open took me to comments made by officials of:

Iran: "The signing of the Iraqi interim constitution is an effective step in the transfer of power to the Iraqi people and Iran welcomes this favourably."

Saudi Arabia: "signing of the interim constitution by members of Iraq's Governing Council is a positive step on the road of drafting a permanent constitution for safeguarding Iraq's unity and territorial integrity."

Turkey: Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said on Tuesday that the interim constitution of Iraq enabled Turkmens to give education in the schools in their own language.

and United Arab Emirates (President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has welcomed the signing of the interim constitution in Iraq, describing it as a major step towards achieving stability and reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

(All emphases mine.)

Now...I want to take a look at this for a moment.

Only two of the five countries listed here are democracies, Japan and Turkey.

Of the five countries here, 3 border Iraq and one more (UAE) is a stones throw down the street. You might imagine anything that appears to hasten stability in the region would be welcomed.

And in fact when one reads closely these statements we find that the first two merely affirm it to be a good thing that Iraq is taking steps toward their own "legitimate" government...which can be construed as a poke in the eye of the USA.

The Saudi statement seems to hold out hope that Iraq will cease being a basket case in the region while that of the UAE also hopes that the neighborhood will quiet down.

And the Turks...the Turks seem to be damning with faint praise, if that is the best they can do.

Meanwhile, notable in their absence (in so far as I and the essaying readers can find) are the non-English speaking great democracies of the world...including one whose motto is "Liberté - égalité - fraternité"

I still don't get it.

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