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Briefly, here is my reply to Robert Musil’s critique of “After the War.” Turkey may have become at least partially democratic on its own, but Iraq and the Arab states did not. In fact, the Arab world is the least democratic part of the globe. Turkey may be Islamic, but Turkish culture and Arab culture differ. In fact the breakup of the Ottoman Empire was facilitated, not only by World War I, but by the rise of Arab cultural nationalism. Democracy in Turkey, such as it was, took the form of Kemalism, a movement almost unique in the non-Western world for the complete antagonism it draws between modernization, on the one hand, and traditional religion and culture, on the other. The very radicalism of the opposition between Kemalism and Islam confirms that Islamic society is particularly difficult to adapt to modernity. Kemalism’s radical antagonism to tradition tends to inhibit its spread to other Islamic societies. In fact, Kemalism is a minority taste, even in Turkey. Certainly, Japan was anything but fully democratic. But that fact is well known, and constantly recited as proof that the MacArthur experience can be exported to Iraq. The point of “After the War” was to show that there is also a more democratic history in Japan, yet nothing at all comparable in Iraq. That calls the analogy between Japan and Iraq into question.


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