Central to Democratic Theory and Practice
In Iraq, politics that does not necessarily belong to the technical discipline of philosophy. Political philosophy is the activity whereby the conceptual apparatus behind such concepts are analyzed in terms of their history, intent and evolution. Democracy is particularly vulnerable when it is new in a nation that is just emerging from an extended period of authoritarian rule. A new democracy cannot guarantee its success simply by copying a constitutional structure that performs well in an established democracy.
In a federation, the component states are in some sense sovereign, insofar as certain powers are reserved to them that may not be exercised by the central government. However, a federation is more than a mere loose alliance of independent states.
The success or failure of democracy are interpreted as different equilibria in a dynamic political game viz-a-viz changing leadership and incomplete information about politicians’ virtue. Unitary democracy can be frustrated when voters do not replace corrupt leaders, because any new leader would probably also govern corruptly.
The component states of a federation usually possess no powers in relation to foreign policy, and so do not enjoy an independent status under international law. This is the case with the new Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
When games have multiple equilibria, the players’ shared culture becomes the system that identifies which equilibrium they will actually expect to play. The analysis must therefore take into account ways in which the local culture in any new democracy may be expected to differ from the cultures of established democracies.
However, federal democracy cannot be consistently frustrated at both national and provincial levels, because provincial leaders who govern responsibly could build reputations to become contenders for higher national office. Similarly, democracy cannot be consistently frustrated in a democratization process that begins with decentralized provincial democracy and only later introduces nationally elected leadership.
The dominions in the New World consisted of autonomous provinces, transformed to federal states upon independence. The oldest continuous federation, and a role model for many subsequent federations, is the United States of America. Some of the New World federations failed, the Federal Republic of Central America broke up into independent states 10 years after its founding.