Thursday, April 28, 2005

Why Don't We Encourage Other Nations To Use Our Constitution?

Yglesias and his comment board has an interesting section on Parliamentarian v Multiple Branch constitutions. He rightfully points out there are a lot of different issues that get thrown in (federalism, checks and balances, separation of powers, and 1 man 1 vote, are all different issues).

Especially interesting are the theories as to why the US government has not encouraged “strong executives” and other checks, we supposedly consider so fundamental, in nations it helps build. One is that this reflect the role of other Western nations in most of our national building, two is that we are trying to maintain the Parliaments beforehand, three is that we are trying to make easily compliant and weak governments we can dominate, and four is the implicit one, that our State department and military planners realize our system is flawed.

I have a hard time believing that anyone raised in America, let alone in our Beltway, has understood that the American system is not the best – just from the sheer lack of discussion we have about it (and how groping in the dark we seemed on the Iraq endeavor). Still, anyone who does comparative politics tends to immediately realize that our system is a cobble of compromises, and certainly not an ideal of perfectly balanced mechanisms. And we certainly wouldn’t want to replicate it.

PS: One might argue that the current system is used because it works uniquely well in our culture, just not in others. The idea that the ideal government can't be shared between two countries, but can transcend two centuries of change, is absurd.


At 11:39 PM, Anonymous little_e- said...

i think it's a combination of not wanting a strong government and recognition that the american system isn't necessarily the best--or at least, not necessarily the best *in that situation.* oh, sure, it's perfect for americans. but who knows what the iraqis would do with it...


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