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Constitutional Democracy: Afghanistan's Paper Tiger & Iraq's Pigeon Clay

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Chapter Summary

Just as the United Nations remained the dominant Afghani democratization sponsor, both at the Bonn conference and within the country, the United States exclusively sponsored Iraqi democracy. William H. Riker's three coalition principles operate in both Afghanistan and Iraq, but reflect the different twists and turns of regime-change discussed in this chapter: size, minimal strategy, and disequilibrium. Since extremist Islamic groups dispense of the rationality assumption, they make poor coalition partners; but modified versions of extremist groups could play havoc with the democratic machineries. This chapter depicts Afghanistan as the paper tiger and Iraq as the pigeon clay of democracy: Both embody the essence of the envisioned democracy on paper, but only Afghanistan courageously, attempts to give legs to expectations against all odds, while Iraq, by shielding behind the U.S. military and producing the most fortified form of democracy, only invites pot shots by dissidents and insurgents alike.

Keywords: Afghani democratization; Bonn conference; constitutional democracy; extremist Islamic group; Iraqi democracy; U .S. military; William H. Riker's coalition principle



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