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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Democracy and Its Discontents: The Case of Syria

Democracy is hardly simple, given that the momentary will of the people can be distinguished in at least some cases from what is in the people’s own best interest. Part of the job of an elected representative is discerning or judging under which of the two a given vote should be based. Adding to the complexity are the additional judgments concerning how much weight to give campaign contributors and lobbyists who have a vested interest in the vote. All this certainly applied to the decision on whether the U.S. should use limited missile strikes against the Syrian government as a means of enforcing the international norm and treaty banning chemical weapons. Such decisions should neither be made to satisfy the immediate passions of the people nor on the behest of defense contractors. That is to say, neither mob-rule nor the military-industrial complex should eclipse the best interest of the people.

The full essay is at "Syria: Democracy vs. An International Norm"