When the Arab Spring Revolutions captured the attention of the world, there was great hope for peace through democracy as well as great hesitation thanks to all that could go wrong. Unfortunately, the refusal of entrenched governments and hardliners to transition to more democratic states, such as in Libya and Syria, resulted in armed conflict and power vacuums that allowed extremists to take root while hastily arranged elections that lead to the empowerment of those who only serve special interests, as in the case of Egypt, has created unnecessary civil stifle. As this writer has long asserted, the democratization process is not quick nor is it free of failures.
A strong and stable society is build on the balancing of a population’s interests, thus the nature of democracy helps ensure those interests are expressed and addressed in the long run, yet the reliance on diverging public perceptions and perspectives can make democracy dysfunctional in the short-term. This is particularly a problem when political leaders are short-sighted, self-serving, and/or so self-righteous they belief they are the only ones capable of ruling their nation. Despite all the setbacks for democracy and failures of emerging leadership around the globe to properly govern, a vast number of countries are democratization. In fact, the International Community is itself democratization, i.e. we no longer live in a mono- or bipolar world dominated by the agendas of superpowers enjoying the only true sovereignty as all nations are more and more expressing their interests on the world stage, e.g. Ukraine.
What is driving this democratization of our International Community of democratizing nations is a shift in thinking. Governments are not simply struggling to become democratic; in reality, most societies are not necessarily even seeking democracy, but the many Peoples of the world have been learning to think democratically. The Americanization of the globe over the past half-century or so has not simply spread rock’n’roll, blue jeans, and Coca Cola around the world. From its birth to its rise as the world’s superpower, the United States shifted the notion of government itself. Instead of governments existing to be served by their populations, legitimate governments now exist solely to serve their populations.
Under this paradigm shift, people start considering their needs and wants above government agendas, henceforth, massive civil unrest and outright uprisings against dysfunctional, self-serving, and oppressive governments around the world. Because this capitalist-themed means of pursuing one’s personal interests is only the driving force behind revolution, the building of stable, effective governments cannot be complete until the most powerful factions within a population are willing to forgo some of their interests in order to balance the interests of their entire population. To democratize and maintain stability over time, however, leaders must be willing to give up power and recognize they cannot suppress the freedoms of individuals, particularly speech and voting rights, out of convenience.
Looking at the democracies of India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, and Brazil, which together boast nearly 2 billion people, there are many problems, yet there also many positives. Despite the reality that Brazil faces massive poverty and great wealth disparity, it is becoming a global economic power while democracy could help soon empower the increasingly boisterous poor. Pakistan and Turkey may continuously struggle with public corruption, as well as terrorism, but efforts of peaceful protestors to confront findings of a stolen election by Prime Minister Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and a decisive election showing that swept former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan into the Presidency are both strong democratic actions. Meanwhile, the fairly recent elections of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who both ran on platforms dedicated to serving all the Peoples of their lands, are truly encouraging.
That said, these leaders and countries are starting to experience the same sort of disentanglement felt by US President Obama and his supporter when the need to govern during an onslaught of crises slapped America with a reality check. Like the Obama Presidency, all of these administrations face major challenges that hinge on the support and solutions of their Peoples. Looking at the economies of these countries, which is where these leaders will be most harshly criticized and have the least amount of control due to economic realities, the distribution and production of national wealth needs to be developed before all the needs of these populations can be met, which is a particular problem for India, Pakistan, and Brazil. In fierce competition with each other, as well as 1.3 billion Chinese, for natural resources and goods from around the world that cannot be produced at home, scarcity could create massive unrest and strife, yet listening to the grievances and thoughts of their populations can help channel such unrest into solutions, thus democracy can help stop mass violence in even more populous countries outside of the Middle East.
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