Comparison of Democracy in Iraq and the United States
Democracy is an all-inclusive representation of all citizens entitled with voting right where they frankly or indirectly participate in the governance of their state through their representatives (Wydra 22). Elected representatives in a democratic state have the responsibility of developing proposals and formulating legislative policies that represent the will of the people. Democracy is an ancient phenomenon that is believed to have started in the Greek city-states through the practices of their political systems. However, the idea of a democratic state has undergone many changes in many countries in the world today. Most countries in the Arab world have resisted a democratic rule and have maintained an authoritative or dictatorial decree. One such country is Iraq, which has a long history of embracing an authoritarian rule. A fight to achieve a democratic country in Iraq started in 2003 after the United States invasion (Marcinkowski 56).Through the war in Iraq, the US was critical to plant the seed for a democratic order to end the divisiveCaliphate heritage (Wydra 22). This paper seeks to compare democracy in Iraq and the United States with a view of identifying the reasons for the big difference. The United States has achieved a high-level of democracy than Iraq, which has been slowed by a hyped Arab Muslim narration and the divisive Caliphate heritage.
In a purely democratic state, every individual is accorded total freedom to express their feelings and enjoy every right. Although total freedom may be restrained for purposes of creating peace and harmonious coexistence, it cannot be permanent in such a state. For example, in a country that is prone to terrorist attacks, it is obvious a policy to restrain people from gathering can be imposed, but it will have to be rescinded when that state returns to normalcy. Contrary, Iraq has never experienced democracy under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. His leadership only targeted to champion the interest of a section of the citizens. On the other side, American democracy has advanced over the years to become a model that it is today. The American government has allowed its citizens to move freely within and outside its boundaries at will. A major setback for freedom in Iraq is due to the constant killings and bloodshed carried out by the government. Therefore, even as they enjoy a democratic dispensation after ousting President Hussein, its citizens do not value the importance of democracy. Unlike the US, it is not easy to have pure freedom of citizens in Iraq because these will be capitalized by militia gangs to stage a fight against the government. Therefore, the form of freedom in each country has partly influenced the level of democracy between the two countries, which is a founding principle of a democratic state.
Another important aspect of a democratic country is the desire to compromise individual groups to achieve a common obligation that is of interest to everybody. Iraq finds it difficult to have an agreement on consensus due to the high number of groups within the country. Each group claims to have its own perception on what a democratic Iraq should look like. However, only two major political groups may have different views about their nations in the US. Therefore, it is comparably easy to have a consensus because to compromise a view present by two groups is much easier. This is achieved through validating the views of a majority group, but it is difficult in Iraq situation that has over 100 different groups (Marcinkowski 56). For example, the Kurds and the marsh Arabs in the north and south parts of Iraq respectively, have lived for many years without government support. Therefore, this makes it difficult to achieve a compromised policy based on the opinion accepted by any majority group.
Equality for all individuals in a society is a basic fundamental principle of democracy that is different between the two countries. A democratic rule should ensure that its citizens are given an equal treatment for all opportunities within their countries and the rule of law. Equality will give every citizen a chance to achieve what he or she aspires to be in the future. However, this is not the case in Iraq because there is wide segregation of certain groups. For example, Iraqis women do not have the same rights as men and they are constantly discriminated in many basic issues. In fact, in this particular country, women are not considered citizens and they are denied all basic rights. This problem is not enshrined on the constitution of the country, but it is a belief that defines their way of life. Contrary, in the US, the constitution has guaranteed women equal rights to men on all aspects of life. This is the reason that women have become politically active in the country in modern days unlike in Iraq. Moreover, a democratic state should ensure that women have the same rights like men in developing policies for their countries (Chulov 32).
The electoral process is another important pillar of a democratic state. Since times in history, the Iraqis have never had absolute power to elect their representatives through a democratic process. President Hussein hailed in a dictatorship authority where none of the citizens had a thought on how to elect his president. The electoral bodies in a new democratic Iraq have failed short of the required threshold to undertake a fair process. For example, in the 2010 parliamentary election, Iraq National Movement under the leadership of Ayad Allawi won a majority of the seats against its closest rival the State of Law Coalition led by Nouri Al-Maliki (Marcinkowski 56). However, the election sparked a lot of controversy and even the Supreme Court of Iraq had earlier warned about the unconstitutionality of the electoral body. On the other side, the Americans boosts of a competent electoral body that has ensured a fair electoral process. In addition, Iraq being ranked as the most corrupt country in the middle east is unlikely to achieve democratic leaders as is the case in the US where corruption has no place.
Iraq and the United States are much far apart when their individual democracies are compared. Democracy in Iraq has been impeded by restrained freedom for its people, equality problems, ability to compromise ideas and an incompetent electoral body. However, the United States has an advanced democracy due to its superior constitution and competent electoral body. Although the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 ignited a desire for a democratic state, its development is likely to be retarded by a hyped Arab Muslim narration and the divisive Caliphate heritage that was inherited from the previous authoritarian rule.
Chulov, Martin.”Iraqi elections hit with claims of fraud by opposing parties.” The Guardian 16. March 2010.
Marcinkowski, Ismail. Religion and Politics in Iraq. Shiite Clerics between Quietism and Resistance. Singapore: Pustaka Nasional, 2004. Print.
Wydra, Harald. Communism and the Emergence of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.