I need to correct John Keane’s erroneous use of a section of my book Democracy Kills. In his review in International Affairs he claimed I wrote that since 1989 ‘around 10 million people have died as a consquence of American, British and allied efforts to introduce ‘Western-style democracy.’
This is wrong. That figure was attached to the estimated number that had died since 1989 ‘when Western-style democracy has had an almost free rein to prove its worth.’ I acknowledged it would only ever be a ‘rough guess because of overlaps between war, poverty and disease.’ I went on to say that the figure might not be the failure it first seems, given the numbers killed in the First and Second World Wars, Stalin’s Great Terror and Mao’s Great Leap Forward.
There is a substantive and important difference between what I wrote and how Keane presented it.