Helping Democracy Along

As a follow up to my post on Monday about measuring instability, let’s say one wants to measure the potential for democracy or “democratic reform.” Consider… the US has for a long time had good relations with Saudi Arabia. In many ways, the relationship has gotten, well, gooder, under GW. Signs of this range from our President holding hands with Abdullah (my suspicion is that GW has never held hands with any man since he was three, and if one were to say he was respecting Abdullah’s culture, well, in many parts of the world men greet each other with a kiss – and we haven’t see GW do that at all) to Cheney’s getting called on the Saudi carpet when some idiots in the administration were contemplating the “20 percent solution”

The US relationship with Pakistan has also gotten significantly gooder under GW. I’m just thinking of how small the price has been for Pakistan to pay for Khan’s transfer of WMD technology to rogue states. I’m thinking that since it was all accomplished on official Pakistani aircraft, and since Pakistan won’t let US agents talk to him, the Pakistani government must have been more involved than the official story. I also think about how its general knowledge that at a very minimum, elements in the Pakistani security services are helping the Taliban.

So the question… why is the US being so friendly these and other states run by people that hate us and do what they can to hurt us. Let’s leave out conspiracy theories, and take GW at his word. He claims he’s all for supporting the forces of democracy. Let us assume he believes these countries are becoming more democratic.

Now, leaving GW out of this, how would one objectively quantify whether a leader of a country, or even the country as a whole, is ready to become more democratic?