Liberty, Security, and War

Andrew Sullivan makes an obvious point that’s nonetheless widely missed:

The security of a police state is not true security. The centrifugal forces that Saddam was slowly failing to control were bound to have a period when they spun out of control.

Certainly true. Just a look at the post-Cold War era illustrates this: Various microwars in the former Soviet Union and the Balkanization of the former Yugoslavia with its attendant civil wars and ethnic cleansing are the most obvious examples. And, as others have noted, the transition from apartheid South Africa to a truly democratic system has been rocky. In all cases, it’s arguable that the price of democracy was too high given the short term costs. Hell, that was true in 1776 and 1860.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.