John Keane | War, Peace and Democracy
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War, Peace and Democracy

  |   Articles & Essays JK, Democracy in the 21st Century, War, Violence, Fear   |   No comment

Extract from the concluding chapter for David Pritchard (ed.), War, Democracy and Culture in Classical Athens (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

The subject of war and democracy, and their potential symbiosis, has recently been brought to life by the fact that virtually all democracies are today caught in the sticky threads of a permanent war against ‘terror’. In the name of ‘democracy protection’ and ‘democracy promotion’, armies have been gathered and sent to foreign countries; more than a few democratic institutions have been militarised, as if the permanent war for democracy has necessitated the trimming of their power-sharing, representative mechanisms.

Civilians are subjected to dummy exercises, new forms of surveillance and routine ‘security’ checks; police powers have been expanded; the dark arts of surveillance are flourishing; and enemy torture has been justified publicly. All citizens have meanwhile been warned to be on guard, at all times, to conduct themselves as if their daily lives are a permanent battlefield.

Electorates have even heard loud calls by politicians and intellectuals to protect governments, at home and abroad, by taking ‘pre-emptive military actions against grave threats to their survival or to their civilian population’

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Read a Review of “War, Democracy and Culture in Classical Athens” by Nicholas Sekunda, Gdansk University