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Is Democracy Under Threat In The World?

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The modern states are based on the democratic principles of people’s equal participation, transparency, accountability, and general public welfare. The developed countries of the West are the ones who propounded this idea of political representation and implemented it in the world, hoping to create a more liberal and peaceful world where public welfare may be the center of all political representation and socio-economic planning. However, this governance model is currently being undermined by the underlying forces of political radicalism, religious/ ethnic extremism, and a clash of economic dynamics among the big nations.

Background 

In the post-cold war era, the liberal democratic principles were vigorously propagated by the Western powers like the UK and US who considered democracy to be the best form of governance. This was the time when we saw the publishing of books like “The End of History and the Last Man” by Francis Fukuyama (1992) in which the modern liberal democratic model was considered to be best for whole humanity despite their socio-economic, cultural, and ideological background.

Although such concepts proved to be right to a large extent when the world saw the emergence of public welfare and participation in all spheres of life through democracy, however, gradually the truth of the so-called liberal started to unveil itself. This happened with the resultant dependency of the small states created by the global economic and political institutes like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the unwarranted control over the P5 nations in the United Nations General Assembly. All this created distrust for the Western democratic values, especially in the South Asian and African regions that were mostly under the influence of the economic dependency of the US.

In such a political background, the extremist ideologies emerged to counter the Western perspective and provide a counter-narrative in the form of religious and ethnic conservatism and extremism. Enter Islamic Jihad, Taliban, Afghanistan crisis, and a global terrorism wave.

The current scenario

Today, the strategic, ideological, economic, and political differences among the nations are creating a much wider divide than in the previous decades. This is ironic in the presence of the United Nations and the world democratic bodies that are responsible to ensure peace and cooperation among nations. 

Many nations in the world are merely dummy democracies with religiously and culturally extremist leaders leading them. They are no more than a faux representation and adherence to the UN Charter and peace values.

What’s happening?

In the current global political order many Western countries have surprisingly elected far-right White supremacist leaders that are way more extremist and rigid than the dreaded Taliban. The only difference is that work under the façade of democracy and modern politics where as the Taliban, IS, and similar religious groups do not have a clear state authority to adhere to so they cling to their religious and ideological principles alone.

Here are a few examples of the authoritarian rules under the name of democracy:

  • The rise of Donald Trump in the US and the openly propagated White supremacy
  • The winning of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, the biggest so-called democracy in Latin America
  • The emergence of Narendra Modi in India and his Hindutva campaign against Muslims of India and Occupied Kashmir
  • The highly centralized control of Xi Jinping in China
  • Winning of Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines
  • The popularity of the conservative Turkish President Recep Tayab Erdogan
  • UK’s parting ways from the European Union under the conservative leadership of Boris Johnson – Brexit
  • The electing of Viktor Orban in Norway
  • The winning of Andrzej Duda in Poland
  • The aspiring “elected autocrat” Herbert Kickl in Austria

All the above-mentioned leaders are authoritarian in governance, conservative in political ideologies, and open exponents of the far-right principles in economic, social, political, cultural, and global realms. These, therefore, are responsible for enacting “walls”, restricting economic and social cooperation, deporting foreigners, and enhancing their strategic powers in deadly proxy wars costing millions of lives and dollars.

The world needs more cooperation, compassion, and co-existing strategies rather than political divide and cultural discrimination. Without a proper people’s government in the world, the nations resort to alternate ways of justice and order such as religious dogmas and ethnically driven narrow-mindedness. Only a united global order can herald a safe and peaceful future for the coming generations.

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