Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries

Last updated: December 20, 2016

Can, and should, democracy be imposed on countries?

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

History has shown that democratic regimes are the best form of government. Countries have not only...

History has shown that democratic regimes are the best form of government. Countries have not only the right but also the duty to intervene to liberate others to enjoy their human rights. Furthermore, as war between two true democracies is rare, world peace is enhanced by the removal of repressive regimes.
No because...
It is a contradiction in terms to argue that democracy can successfully be imposed. Democracy relies on the rule of law (undermined by military imposition), freedom of choice and independence (destroyed by external determination), and on accountability (impossible when a foreign power chooses one’s rulers).

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

Merely seeking to influence dictatorships in the direction of democracy is not enough, and internal ...

Merely seeking to influence dictatorships in the direction of democracy is not enough, and internal opposition is often too weak to gain freedom for itself. Countries shrouding themselves in the pretence of elections in order to prevent invasion or to gain international funding must not be allowed to play the system.
No because...
It is acceptable to encourage the pursuit of democracy, but this is not the same as imposing it. The desire for, and fight for, democracy must come from within; otherwise the system created will be unable to withstand pressures for long.

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

During the Cold War, Western powers often supported illiberal regimes for reasons of realpolitik. ...

During the Cold War, Western powers often supported illiberal regimes for reasons of realpolitik. After 1989, there can no longer be an excuse for this. It could be argued that past western complicity in dictatorship requires us to make amends by promoting democracy more aggressively in future.
No because...
The hypocrisy of turning on a regime once maintained is morally reprehensible. The new world order cannot be accepted as necessarily a safer place; stability may be safer than universal democracy bought with many lives and a great deal of resentment. The concept of democracy itself may be degraded in the eyes of many if it comes to be associated with invasions undertaken for suspect (e.g. economic) motives.

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

The worldwide threat from terrorism would be reduced by limiting those states willing to harbour and...

The worldwide threat from terrorism would be reduced by limiting those states willing to harbour and trade with terrorist groups, as the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security argued. Pre-emptive attacks on illiberal regimes serve to prevent later threats and act as a deterrent against bad behaviour.
No because...
The doctrine of pre-emption depends on analysing unclear evidence, and undertaking potentially unjustified invasions. Terrorist groups will merely find greater levels of popular support, and receive funding from citizens in democratic nations. ‘Security’ is merely an excuse for intervening in oil- or resource-rich areas, whilst poorer nations are left to suffer.

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

It is a fallacy to suggest that the rule of law, or protection for civil rights, is unacceptable in ...

It is a fallacy to suggest that the rule of law, or protection for civil rights, is unacceptable in different regions. There are enough types of democracy to allow for social and historical variations – illiberal political parties can always stand for election.
No because...
To impose democracy is to foist a set of Western values onto populations with different cultural backgrounds (e.g Islamic, tribal, Confucian). Cultural imperialism must not be armed. To permit the election of former dictators leaves dangerous loopholes for the future.

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

When a country is already engaged in conflict or civil war, to bring international power to bear is ...

When a country is already engaged in conflict or civil war, to bring international power to bear is a way of conflict-resolution. To wait, as occurred in Rwanda, will only do more damage.
No because...
To intervene may mean that conflict escalates. Democracy may be encouraged after a war has ended; or dictatorships undermined by economic and cultural sanctions without military action, which is costly in terms of money and lives on all sides.

Democracy Should Be Imposed On Countries
Yes because...

To rely on multilateral action is utopian. The UN doctrine of non-intervention in the domestic affa...

To rely on multilateral action is utopian. The UN doctrine of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of independent nations means that unilateral or bi-lateral actions are the only realistic possibilities. This is especially important given that China has a veto on the Security Council and other SC regular members are not themselves democracies.
No because...
Unilateral action is burdensome, and dangerously dependent upon the political whim of foreign electorates – often unwilling to commit the troops and money for long-term rebuilding of nations. The worst of all scenarios may be a bloody invasion and regime change, followed by anarchy when the external power swiftly withdraws. Even when invaders remain to oversee the installation of a new regime, they may choose pliant appointees rather than risk the uncertainty of true democracy.


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