Dialogues from Doloria

Chapter XVI of The Dolorian Chronicles
by Paul Olson, NFP President Emeritus


After I had eaten my Dolorian space-biscuit lunch, I entered the mother ship to go back to earth. Stowing my luggage, I overheard Spock speaking from his cubicle, counseling a young Dolorian sent to bring earth-stuff to Doloria. Speaking with gravitas, Spock admonished, “Young man, beware of Americans bearing democracy. They will wreck everything—if given a chance.”

The Dolorian sounded startled: “How so? Who could be more generous—offering us arms and help with our government?”

Spock: “Well, young man, you need to learn some history.

“In the old days, the 1900s, it wasn’t bad. Then the Americans and the Brits, their buddies, just installed or supported tyrants all over the world: the Middle Eastern tyrants after World War I, the Shah in Iran, Jake Arbenz’s replacement in Guatemala, Somoza in Nicaragua, Chiang Kai-Shek in Taiwan, Verwoerd in South Africa, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile, and so on. At least when they installed someone—or kept a tyrant—in power, you knew what you were up against. (Of course, the Soviets were pretty good at installing tyrants also.) But it has been worse since 2000. Much worse.”

Dolorian: “I can’t believe that. How could things get worse?”

Spock: “Oh, yes. A lot worse. They pretty much stopped the ‘Strong Man’ thing and moved to making ‘democracies’—forms of government so corrupt and destructive that they would ruin whole cultures in a few years.”

Dolorian: “Well, I never… They told me that Doloria could have some advisors in security, progress and civil society for free… I was amazed at the generosity.”

Spock: “Predictable!! Do you know what happened to Afghanistan in the 21st century when the Americans put Karzai in charge of a temporary government, ostensibly with Afghan acquiescence. He won his first election, then seized his second by fraud. Hardly any Americans said anything. After that, his cronies took money out of the country in trunks and suitcases, and the place went to the dogs.

“And then the Americans said that they would bring democracy to Iraq after they tired of its tyrant. In 2006, the U.S. set up some U.S. intelligence (CIA) interviews with Iraqi politicians. They said that Nouri al-Maliki was one of the four Iraqis who could be prime minister, but, when he became leader, his administration’s policies engulfed the country in constant civil war, effectively splintering it into three rival pseudo-states—the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunnis.

“Then there was Libya: their tyrant got rid of his nuclear weapons to pacify the Americans, who turned right around and used the ‘Arab Spring’ to do him in. Thereafter the country was all chaos, guns and regional splinters. Libya’s president couldn’t really rule.

“And who could forget Egypt in 2012-2013? The Egyptian people poured into the streets to get rid of the U.S.- supported tyrant, Mubarak—and would not leave. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the U.S. too said he had to go and Egypt’s army saw to his exit. Afterward, the first democratic elections in half a century were held, but the U.S. guys didn’t win. A Muslim Brotherhood fellow, Morsi, narrowly won the presidency and pushed through a controversial new constitution.

“Predictably, the crowds came out again and said that the Morsi had to go. The army supported the crowds and removed him, but killed hundreds of his supporters in the streets. It got real ugly, but at least from the U.S.’s perspective, the army was in charge.

“Those Americans and Brits, they only liked the democracy that elected their guys. The kind that got in their way had to be removed. The U.S. trained and armed the Egyptian army, you know . . .” His voice trailed off.

Dolorian: “But wasn’t that undemocratic?”

Spock: “You know some White House guys wearing turtle-shell vests, neocons—none of whom had ever been to war—said that America should fight to ‘project democracy’ everywhere… Their brand of democracy, that is. These were the same guys that handpicked a crook like Karzai (whom a University of Nebraska official educated). And al Maliki. Blame the neocons.”

Dolorian: “But surely a progressive Barack Obama stopped all that—pushed for real democracy!”

Spock: “ Well… Hmm… He oversaw the Egypt thing, you know.”

Dolorian: “Well, I never… So sad. So dolorous, so to speak?”

Spock: “Sad, indeed. Americans in the 21st century repeated their mistakes of 80 years before when the U.S. passed the Indian Reorganization Act—imposing ‘democratic’ government on tribal groups governed by other forms of participatory governance. ‘Democracy’ on the reservations nearly destroyed what remained of the tribes’ self-regulatory capacity, tribes that had lost their resources and had their cultures and religions destroyed legislatively. Sad. They just keep on doing the same things—those Americans and Brits. Sometimes I wonder if they are dumb.”

Dolorian: “You know I was planning to bring home some security and civil society consultants—get some aid in building up our weak military and backward government. But I think when I get down there, I’ll just buy a hundred thousand gallons of Coca Cola. That’ll help us!”

The lights on the control panel flickered, and I could see that our mother ship was about to take off. I did hear Spock say, to the young Dolorian, as he left his cubicle to command again, “By all means. Things do go better with Coke.”

I was happy to be heading back to StratCom and Nebraska where our ship would land, happy that our space program was strengthening Nebraska’s peace and freedom in 2084, happy that we had brought Western-style democracy to Syria back in 2013. My mood lightened as we approached Omaha. 

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