Introductory note: the concept of Pre-Emptive Democracy is a work in progress. We are working on a detailed plan applying this new concept to Iraq. We will post updates as soon as they become available. In the meantime, feel free to give us feedback (see email at bottom of page), and to publish or quote, but with attribution to the World Citizen Foundation. Interested governments or journalists should contact Troy Davis at 212-973-9835 or troydavis@post.harvard.edu.


Preemptive Democracy: a novel solution for regime change in Iraq.

Free to publish or quote. Please send a copy for our records.

President Bush gave a powerful and clear speech at the UN General Assembly on September 12, 2002. The fact that the President presents his case to the world is in itself remarkable, as it shows the historical changes that technological progress has wrought: world leaders today, unlike those of old, feel accountable to the court of global public opinion, even if no global legislative body yet exists that represents the citizens of the world.

Yet, President Bush failed to address two crucial issues, which he might have addressed if the lessons of the Founding Fathers of the United States were more widely understood. He failed to address the ultimate legitimacy of any military action against Iraq, and he failed to address the vital question of "what next?" That is, how will the Iraqi government be rebuilt so as to guarantee freedom and democracy (since failing to create a free and democratic Iraq would mortally taint the motives for invading it, and only a democratic Iraq can guarantee peace)?

The Founding Fathers have the answer for us: the power of principles appealing to the unquenchable thirst for freedom of all peoples. The Declaration of Independence uses the terms "all Men", not "all Americans", underscoring its universal applicability:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The Declaration of Independence clearly and forcefully expresses fundamental rights and came about in a way that maximized its legitimacy and popular mandate. It is our guide and provides all the justification we need for regime change in Iraq. If we believe in freedom, we have a political and moral duty to first follow the example of the Founding Fathers before going to war.

Today, we can and must do our moral duty: President Bush and the world ought to call immediately on all Iraqi groups and the Iraqi people to jointly design the next free and democratic Iraqi government. This should be done in a constitutional convention open to all Iraqi groups, and in a transparent way open to the world media. This Constitutional Assembly, because of restrictions by Saddam Hussein, would not be ideally representative, but it must strive to be as representative as possible. Less than perfect representation could be remedied in a follow-up process in a free Iraq, but the responsibility for less than perfect representation would be clearly Saddam's.

Yet even a less than ideal process, assisted by international experts in constitutional law, would create a popular mandate for regime change.

Pre-emptive Democracy has many advantages. The two major ones are, first, it addresses the issue of legitimacy for any potential future military intervention (as would happen at the behest of the new and more legitimate government of Iraq), and second, it provides in advance the blueprint for the future regime, thus avoiding or minimizing the threat of chaos, civil war, breakup etc. It would also save billions of dollars, even if the convention itself costs a few millions. The more the ramifications of Pre-emptive Democracy are explored, the more it becomes obvious that it can solve many other concerns as well which I do not have the space to mention here. It is a useful exercise to think of some of the concerns mentioned by politicians and others and see how Pre-emptive Democracy can help solve them, or how many such concerns literally vanish into thin air once the fundamental paradigm of Pre-emptive Democracy is understood and applied.

Finally, this constitutional approach is absolutely compatible with the fundamental principles of the world community and of the USA, and as long as it is done in an open and transparent manner, would surely turn world public opinion, including that of the Arab world, against Saddam. It should also appeal to both Right and Left, conservatives and liberals, as it is based on fundamental constitutional principles all parties agree on. And though it does not completely exclude military intervention, it first gives a chance to the best of the human spirit.

The bottom line is that within a matter of months Pre-emptive Democracy could remove what today is Saddam's greatest strength: his perceived legitimacy as the head of a sovereign nation, which explains the reluctance of most of the world to create the dangerous precedent of a preemptive military attack even against a regime most of the world abhors.

Troy Davis


The World Citizen Foundation is a small international US-based nonprofit nonpartisan think-tank dedicated to designing solutions to international problems based on the fundamental principles of human dignity, liberty, democracy and constitutionally protected basic rights.

To be transparent throughout and conduct a very focused and disciplined public communication campaign.

So far, the greatest failing of opposition groups has been their collective inability to have a strong and successful public image and offer a vehicle/locus for public opposition to Saddam Hussein.