Many western governments are being embarrassed by their previous support for autocratic regimes that are now either toppling or looking precarious. For example Sarkozy’s government in France is under attack for various cabinet ministers accepting holidays with friends of Tunisia’s ex-dictator Ben Ali. The Obama administration and others often seemed to be caught in the headlights, not wanting to condemn an ally of thirty years yet hoping that democracy may finally be breaking out in the Middle East, at the same time as worrying what that could mean. The West supports autocrats because of the stability they bring and their ability to help achieve the west’s goals. In supporting these autocrats the west often condemns millions to live without the democracy that is taken for granted in the western world. Should realpolitik come before ideals when it comes to supporting autocrats?
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So long as the people of an autocratic nations are content as in China and Russia
"In the 1990s, under post-Soviet Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, the state did not govern, the economy shrank and the population suffered. Since 2000, under Putin, order has returned, the economy has flourished and the average Russian is living better than ever before. As political freedom has decreased, economic growth has increased. Putin may have rolled back democratic gains, the story goes, but these were necessary sacrifices on the altar of stability and growth." -[[http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/12/russia-qatar-democracy-putin]]
""In Chinese culture, the death penalty is a very important institution for maintaining social order and the ruling government's power,”
Chinese history is packed with gruesome punishments, such as execution to the “ninth degree” — wiping out an entire clan for one man’s treason against the imperial family. Condemned men were often paraded in public before being killed, and peasants would jostle to dip buns of bread in the fresh blood of the executed, said Chiu. "They thought it was good for your health, and for curing illness.”"-[[http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/china/110114/taiwan-death-penalty-asia-hsichih-three-part-three]]
80% of China's population reportedly happy-
China pertains that feeding 1.3 billion people is providing the greatest human right there is.
The people of autocracies/dictatorships are only unhappy in period lows in the business cycle. That dissatisfaction has little to do with the right to vote and more often to do with the right to basic human rights such as the right to education,health-care etc and the deprivation of these is related to how much money the poorest person in a country has. The U.S.A , the world's greatest exporter of democracy does not provide these rights to the poorest Americans.
"The human rights situation is worsening worldwide and especially in the important emerging economies of Pakistan, China, Russia, Colombia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Philippines and Mexico. These are the findings of the Human Rights Risk Atlas 2011 that calculates and maps the risk of complicity in human rights abuses for companies operating worldwide.
According to Maplecroft, who publish the Atlas for the fifth successive year, there are now 92 countries in the ‘extreme’ and ‘high risk’ categories as opposed to 83 last year, a rise of nearly 10%. It is the emerging economies which cause most concern, as many multinational companies and investors now have considerable interests centred there and strong economic growth is not being translated into improving human rights, posing a range of legal, reputational, operational and strategic challenges for business."- [[http://bnaidarfur.org/?p=955]]
Are the people of China and Russia happy? Russian corruption is notorious as are the atrocities prevalent in China. The west claims that human rights are at the top it's concern, the right to vote and freedom of speech is essential for the protection and sustained growth of the joy of a people. No poll taken in China and shown to the world can be trusted because anyone who speaks against the govt. is silenced. The imprisonment of Russia's most progressive businessmen prods to the dismal situation in Russia.
Voter turnout- the majority of citizens in any existing democracy do not vote
The fact that even established democracies such as in Switzerland,the U.K,France and the U.S have considerably low voter turnouts( [[http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm]] with only about 35-65% of those eligible to vote, casting their ballots), means that free and fair elections are a myth, everywhere in the world. After all 50 percent of 60% is only 30% of all those eligible to vote. Over the years, trust in politicians and democratic institutions all over the world has been at a steep decline."there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s. In general, low turnout may be due to disenchantment, indifference, or contentment."- [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout]]
The ideal of a democratic panacea of sorts, is just that. In practice no democracy actually represents the will or voice of the people. Even the U.S government does what it likes despite polls suggesting policy changes and troop callbacks. In the end all important decisions are always made without the knowledge or inclusion of people. In fact the people are only included during elections and the party with the biggest corporate sponsors wins. [[http://tutor2u.net/politics/content/topics/elections/voter_turnout.htm]]
So, it is not just realpolitik that causes western countries to inveigle or throne puppet-autocrats/dictators in foreign countries; it is the reality that no democracy functions anywhere; not really.
Over 50% is a majority. Those who do not vote are not forced not to or silence, no voting is a choice and counts as a neutral vote.
Whether countries the west trades with or has alliances with are democratic or not is irrelevant and none of the west's concern
If a country trades with China, that does not give that country a right to dictate China's policies. As trading with U.S does not give China the right to dictate American policy. Their business is restricted to trade, to use trade to influence other factions/aspects of a country's leadership is only possible and permissible when the country imposing values is at a competitive advantage over the other. The U.S of A and China are both dependent on each other and cannot risk losing each other and so no such competitive advantage exists in this union.
Of course, this would be a good time to point out that that form of coercion is truly undemocratic. As is bribing Iraqis,Afghans and Africans to maintain false/farce democracies. The west imposing governments (whether democratic,autocratic,Fundamentalist etc)
is an attack on a country's national sovereignty and has never resulted in success.
Saddam Husein became a dictator courtesy of the U.S of A - [[http://www.unknownnews.net/saddam.html]]
And who ousted the popular Iranian Prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh? - [[http://www.democracynow.org/2010/5/6/history_of_bp_includes_role_in]] was that nary America and BP?
So western ideals 'are' realpolitik and the distinction is absurd in practical terms.
It is imperative for the people of the west to continue the missionary work of their forebears and to colonize the world with hegemonic western ideals by hook or by crook. It's tradition?
Democracy can only come from below
It's called the bottom up approach -[[http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,558832-3,00.html]]
"Professor Ronald Inglehart at the University of Michigan notes that it is simply not the case that people live happily ever after when constitutions are adopted. It is obvious that democracy in and of itself does not automatically make people happy. Rather it is happy people who make a democracy.
Inglehart refers in this context to South Korea and Taiwan, societies that up until the 1980s were strictly regimented development dictatorships that nonetheless offered their citizens opportunities for education and career advancement. As the populations of these societies became increasingly affluent they also succeeded in gaining political freedoms. Today elected representatives of parties dominate the political scene both in Seoul and in Taipeh. "
When a government organically evolves into a democracy then democracy is successful(by current standards). When democracy is imposed, the very imposition of it makes it a non-democracy. What means does the west use to 'impose' democracy anyhow? bribery,war and other amoral methods of coercion? [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11954667]] [[http://www.theglobeandmail.com/subscribe.jsp?art=1777213]] What place does 'enforcement' and 'coercion' have in democracy?
"The majority of Chinese seem to be satisfied with the opportunities they have for economic advancement and attach very little importance to participation in political decision-making processes. Beijing is at most taking baby steps in the direction of democracy. It now offers elections at the local village level, for example, but not beyond that. There is a constitutional guarantee for private ownership and a right to freedom of speech, at least in theory. On the other hand, when a minority like the Tibetans voice the slightest protest this is seen as an attempt to destabilize the country and their voices are silenced with brute force."
The west needs to step in and wake the Chinese people, and people of other dictated nations up. It is the duty of the west to teach autocrats and dictators the value of free speech and voting by stripping them of the respect the west allows them in decision making. If autocrats and dictators can make decisions so can their people and since these decisions always involve the people, the people have a greater right to make them. The Chinese people are resigned, disenchanted and concerned only with the economics of their life not the quality of living, perhaps because it has been so long since they had a real taste. [[http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,558832-3,00.html]]
enforcing ,coercing and toppling dictators is paying them their dues.
It is hypocritical of the west to support autocracy
A true moral being does not turn a blind eye to the wrongs/ills around him/her. Are the people of the west smarter than those governed by dictators?(Most engineers are Chinese and Indian) Are the people of the west better looking? Are the people of the west saner?
Why should the people of the west have a voice when those in the east are silenced?
There is absolutely no reason. When Western governments cheer dictators on, they are guilty of cultivating the worst double standard and should be as ashamed of themselves as their people are of them. Enough shoes cannot be thrown at Bush, the war president, but the truth is he is just one of many turn-coat opportunistic western leaders who don't know which end is up.
There is a time and place for everything. Western leaders look out for the interests of their people, first. Should dictators be removed at the expense of the citizens of the west? Wars do not come free as the people of the west, are acknowledging. Playing the part of the world's policeman means paying a hefty price.
Efficiently using crowd control processes to gently invigorate and convince governments of a change in policy without aggressively imposing anything, helps everyone.
Democracy is on the forefront of USAID's mission statement, [[http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/dosstrat/2004/23503.htm]] American humanitarian aid comes hand-in-hand with democracy but there is no pricey overtly aggressive crack-down involved.
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer'
What do you think?