Western politicians are really beyond amusement when they persist in describing history back to front.
And they do a lot of incidental damage, too. Syria — or the EU, suffering mass immigration — wouldn’t be in the scrape they’re in if America, Britain and others hadn’t taken against Bashar al-Assad because he was cruel, like his father — though nowhere near as much. But Assad had secular Baathists in his Cabinet. Like those of the other cruel guy, Saddam Hussein, his Baathists were at least bringing their countries into the 20th century and out from under religious fanatics. But no, we wanted Syria and Iraq to have the full shooting match of all the ‘democratic institutions’ that we had — and then economic growth will follow as night follows day. So they say.
The truth of the matter is that, whatever democratic institutions we may have in Britain, they had to be forcibly wrenched from the government in the mid- to late-19th century — because on several occasions government ministers couldn’t sleep at night for fear of having their throats cut or their houses burned down.
It doesn’t matter what sort of government a country may have. If it wants to join the top league then it had better show how it can create innovations first.