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Richard Perle On Democracy and Theocracy


I asked Richard Perle to clarify his views in light of the Washington Post story to which Stanley Kurtz referred earlier. He tells me that he believes that as long as Iraq has a constitution that guarantees fundamental rights and free elections, it cannot become a theocracy. “It will not be a theocracy,” he says, “if you get the constitution right.” He adds, “But you do have to run the risk of electoral outcomes you don’t like. . . . If you believe in democracy. . . and people elect fundamentalists, we have to live with that. But the test of democracy is not the first election but the second election. If there’s a second election, that’s not a theocracy. . . . People don’t want to live in theocracies. The Taliban wasn’t elected. People given the choice will not choose to have every aspect of their lives dictated by mullahs. So I think this [question of an elected theocracy] is not a productive question.”


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