Magazine article The World and I

From This Month's Menu

Magazine article The World and I

From This Month's Menu

Article excerpt

By the time you read this, the United States may be irrevocably committed to war with Iraq. While war is always filled with uncertainties, this should be a conflict in which the United States prevails relatively quickly. However, after the war comes the occupation and reconstruction. Visiting the blessing of a democratic government upon the Iraqi people may not be as simple as some commentators imagine.

The oldest Western democracies emerged over long periods punctuated by social upheaval and bloodshed. Iraq has no tradition of democracy, unlike, say, Germany after World War II. Central America Today, our Special Report this month, shows the trials of the countries in that region. While many of them have emerged from dictatorships and civil wars, they still struggle to create functioning democracies. Democracy simply cannot be produced out of a hat.

Among the Uighurs: The Muslim Minority of West China, in the Culture section, looks at the ethnic Turk people living in Xinjiang, near the Central Asian republics. They are a people we have written about in the past, before the global reach of Islam became a topic of such interest. (You can find the references in the archives section on our Web site.) They present a paradox. On the one hand they clearly suffer political and cultural repression from the Chinese government. On the other, and probably because of the repression, they were a fruitful recruiting ground for the al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.

Peace and the Palestinian Authority, in the Current Issues section, looks at the alternatives to Arafat and finds them none too appetizing. The article was contributed by Claude Salhani, an editor with United Press International (UPI), the global news agency now owned by News World Communications, which is also our owner. Claude lived for many years in the Middle East and has a wealth of connections there. …

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