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Horn of Africa
‘Democracy’ in Somalia Looks a Lot Like Oligarchy
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  • ——————————

    “‘Democracy’ in Somalia Looks a Lot Like Oligarchy”

    What a shock!….anyway, who cares….

    • David Schuler

      Oligarchy would only be a step in the right direction under certain conditions:

      1. The oligarchs aren’t Islamists.
      2. Calling it “oligarchy” is more than just imposing a conceptual framework on pre-existing conditions.

      Are there any reasons to believe that either of those is the case? Furthermore, federalism only works when the states aren’t fighting with one another. Doesn’t the “constant decomposition and recomposition” mean that the states will continually be contending with one another?

      Contrary to the quoted author’s claim it seems clear that the only stable system of governance under conditions in which clan and family are the strongest structures would be autocracy.

      • ——————————

        Oligarchs aren’t necessarily Islamists, however Oligarchs can use the religious hierarchy to help keep the citizens under control and more concerned with the rules of the religion than the rules of the government.

        My wife is from Kenya and I have been to Kenya and Ethopia (which border and have problems with, Somalia), and have been to several other African countries, and I can tell you that they will never substantially change.
        Even my wife thinks they are all useless….

  • Andrew Allison

    “Federalism seems like the only prudent path forward for governance in Somalia.” Well, it’s worked out pretty well here, were 538 electors appointed by the States decide who’s going to be President [grin]. This is a good thing — the Electoral College was put in place precisely to prevent one or two States from choosing the President (156% of Clinton’s plurality came from California, a state which, as the leaders of its assembly and Senate helpfully announced following the election, doesn’t share the values of the rest of the country.

  • LarryD

    A viable, non-oppressive government has to reflect the customs, traditions and values of the people it’s supposed to govern.

    And we’ve always held government works better the closer it is to its people.

  • CaliforniaStark

    Americans and Europeans like to imposed “democratic” veneers over countries that have totally different cultures, beliefs and traditions. It seems to be the residue of the colonial “white man’s burden.” We know better than the locals because we are civilized westerners — so we can preach “federalism”, “liberal democracy” and “representative systems” etc., at them. Why don’t we leave the Somalis alone to work out their own problems and systems of governance. Wasn’t once a western, or least New England, value that one should “mine their own business.”

  • FriendlyGoat

    We have to wish them the best. Nothing there is easy to keep the lid on.

  • Disappeared4x

    Somaliland, once a British colony, has been de facto independent for 25 years. Their only barrier is the African Union rule demanding retention of colonial borders. I sincerely hope that Ethiopia submits a resolution to the UNSC in favor of Somaliland statehood in a way that crushes this AU rule, one that only perpetuates war. Not to mention the hypocrisy of maintaining colonial borders when so many falsely decry ‘European colonialism’ elsewhere, e.g., Israel.

  • CapitalHawk

    “Federalism seems like the only prudent path forward for governance in Somalia. Somaliland in the north and Puntland in the northeast already operate as de facto independent statelets.”

    Ummm, so why not just let them go whole hog and become independent states? This seems to me to be just as prudent a path forward as looping them into some federal government. If Monaco and Liechtenstein and Palau (and others) can do it, obviously those in Somalia can too.

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