Thomas Sowell

Creating democracy in Germany and Japan was a goal, but not a fetish. Creating a stable and viable government amid the ruins and rubble of war was the first priority and a major responsibility. You cannot create instant democracy like you are making instant coffee.

There are prerequisites for a free society, and the foundations of democracy cannot be built on chaotic conditions with widespread uncertainty and fear. To hold elections for the sake of holding elections is to abdicate responsibility for the sake of appearances.

The biggest danger is that you will create a government that will work at cross purposes to everything you are trying to achieve -- a government you cannot rein in, much less repudiate, without destroying your own credibility as representatives of democracy. That has happened in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

By contrast, in both Germany and Japan power was turned over to elected officials at such times and in such degree as conditions seemed to indicate. Eventually, both countries resumed their roles as sovereign nations. But we didn't publish a timetable.

Today, with terrorists threatening to at least fragment Iraq, if not take it over, it is a sobering thought that Barack Obama and his key advisers have a track record of having been wrong about Iraq and other foreign policy issues for years, going back before they took office -- and no track record of learning from their mistakes.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate