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Robert Musil has posted a thoughtful critique on his blog, Man Without Qualities, of “After the War,” my recent piece for City Journal on the problems and prospects of bringing democracy to Iraq. In “After the War,” I argue that Japan’s long tradition of Westernization, and even democratization, means that the post-WWII MacArthur experience is not the right analogy for what we will face in Iraq. India’s route to democracy under the British is the better model, I claim. Musil makes two points against this argument. Turkish democracy, he notes, emerged from the Islamic Ottoman Empire, without being imposed by the West. So if an Islamic society like Turkey can democratize, asks Musil, why can’t Iraq? Then Musil points to various ways in which pre-World War II Japan was not democratic. So why, if we could change autocratic Japan, asks Musil, can’t we change autocratic Iraq?


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