Saturday, February 19, 2005

Matthews decides Iraqi elections matter. Can others on the Left afford to stay far behind?

Chris Matthews: Sixty years ago this weekend, the three leaders who won World War II met on the Black Sea and carved up Europe. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin agreed that the countries liberated from Adolph Hitler and the Nazis should be democratic, that “elections would be held,”—catch this, “where necessary.” The notion of letting Joseph Stalin choose where democratic elections were deemed necessary was one of the most naïve agreements of history. Consider Poland, the unfortunate state defeated, divided and swallowed in two large bites in 1939 by Hitler and Stalin. At Yalta, this country, whose sad fate had been the cause of World War II, was promised free and unfettered elections. It never got them. Indeed, it was at Yalta that the Iron Curtain came clamoring down. Millions saved from Nazism were now captive peoples for half a century.

Chris Matthews (cont.): Elections matter. They matter in this country. They mattered in Iraq. Today, the elected politicians in Baghdad throughout that country are scurrying to form a government. A month ago, the unelected leaders of Iraq were scurrying merely out of fear. Many of us Americans didn’t like the invasion of Iraq, didn’t like the reasons given for it. Many of us still don’t. But, most of us can’t find anything but good in the holding in Iraq of free and unfettered elections. As Winston Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government except for those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

The Chris Matthews [Sunday morning] show, NBC, February 13, 2005.