Is Democratic Government in Decline?

Sign Of The TimesAcross the planet, things look a bit disturbing (…..) Though Thailand is not as unusual as many Thais seem to believe, every country certainly has its own political history and circumstances. Democracy was imposed by an occupier in Japan, midwifed by a king in Spain, and fought over for decades in Timor-Leste. Reversals of democracy in each nation have unique characteristics. In Thailand the king’s prolonged illness has hurt democratic consolidation, while in Russia the anarchy of Boris Yeltsin era, in which a proud country teetered on the brink of bankruptcy while oligarchs plundered its wealth, soured many Russians on the freedoms of democracy. But the broad, and dangerous, reasons for global democratic rollback today differ relatively little. Democracies have faced many challenges in the past, at the other times countries that seemed to have democratized suffered reversals, occasionally regressing, as in the case of Germany in the 1930s, to outright totalitarianism. But those reversals tended to be relatively isolated, eventually global democracy progressed once again. That progression can no longer be taken for granted: today a constellation of factors, from the rise of China to lack of economic growth in new democracies to West’s financial crisis, has come together to hinder democracy throughout developing world. Absent radical, unlikely changes, in international system, that combination of antidemocratic factors will have serious staying power. Yet Western leaders do not seem to recognize how seriously democracy is threatened in many parts of the developing world. Though some observers, like Freedom House, have begun to recognize how democracy has become endangered, few have systematically traced how a form of government once thought to be invincible has been found lacking in so many places and consequently tossed aside, often by the very middle-class reformers who once were democracy’s vanguard. Among senior American officials, few are willing to accept that current climate is anything more than a blip in democracy’s ultimate conquest of the globe, that Arab Spring and Summer might not turn out to be like 1989’s year of democratic revolution or a prolonged democratic rollback would have severe consequences for global security, trade, and the American strategic interests, not to mention the well-being of millions of men and women across the developing world. The official national security strategy developed by George Bush administration, which enshrined democracy promotion as a central value of US foreign policy, carried the unstated assumption that, with US backing, democracy would continue to spread around the world. Although the Obama administration’s 2010 national security strategy acknowledged this progress had met obstacles, experts within the administration seemed to assume, given the right adjustments in American policy, United States would soon be leading a renewed wave of global democratization. The United States is not the only entity that does not comprehend that democracy’s progress may have stalled. In 2008, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), main regional grouping in Southeast Asia, passed new charter that made respect for human rights a core component of membership. Even in private, senior Asean officials argue that the region is moving toward shared democratic values. This despite the fact, except in Indonesia, democratization and human rights have regressed throughout Southeast Asia in past 10 years, as well as the fact region is still no closer to having real shared values than it was when Asean was formed more than 4 decades ago.



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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