Who’ll make the world free from ‘democracy’?

According to Freedom House the world didn’t boast a single democracy in 1900. However, in 2007 there were supposed to be 123 democracies out of 192 existing countries. The world is mostly democratic then, which ought to be enough to put QED grins on the neocons’ faces and make us all rejoice. In Hegel’s view the 1806 battle of Jena ended history, in the sense that no further debate was any longer possible. However, history manifestly restarted soon thereafter, only, according to the ex-neocon Fukayama, to end again in 1989 with the final victory of democracy everywhere. Now that history has been kickstarted again, are you rejoicing?

As the shift from zero to 123 occurred in the 20th century, then, according to democracy worshippers, it ought to be regarded as the sunniest period ever. Instead, somewhere between 400 and 500 million people died violent deaths at the time — more than in all the other centuries of recorded history combined. Moreover, some of the most horrific massacres ensued after failed attempts to implant the saplings of one-man-one-vote democracy into a soil all too ready to reject them. Russia and Germany spring to mind, but then you can name your own examples from just about every continent.

Woodrow Wilson, one of the neocons’ icons, dragged America into the First World War under the slogan of ‘making the world safe for democracy’. The principal warring parties were perplexed, considering that France was already a republic, Britain a constituional democracy with a fine parliamentary tradition, while Germany, Austria and even Russia had functioning parliaments, even though the last had been struggling to come to terms with it. And all those parliaments craved war. In fact, the German parliament, especially its social-democratic faction, was so gung-ho that in 1914 Chancellor Bethmann-Holweg pushed the Kaiser into declaring war on Russia in all possible haste because, ‘Without this,’ he claimed, ‘we’d never carry the socialists.’ In the end only one German MP voted against war credits, the bolshevik Karl Liebknecht, taking his cue from Lenin.

It takes a woeful misreading of history not to realise that Wilson’s demagoguery was aimed at pursuing American imperial ambitions, with ‘democracy’ happening to be the battle-cry close at hand. In fact, his American contemporaries were stunned even more than the outlanders, considering that until then the word ‘democracy’ had hardly been common parlance. The Founding Fathers barely ever used it, and ‘democracy’ didn’t figure among the 278 words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. He only talked about ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ Why didn’t he just say ‘democratic government’ instead? That would have reduced the address to an even 270 words, and surely brevity is important.

By now you’ve realised that I’m only talking about the past to draw your attention to the present. For it is under the mendacious (or, to be kinder, misconceived) slogan of democracy cum nation-building that the US has created a veritable powder keg in the Middle East, which could indeed end history, but not in the way Messrs Hegel and Fukayama meant it. I don’t know if neocon agitprop spinners actually believe that their version of laser-guided democracy can triumph in the region. If they do, they are fools. And if they don’t, while still spinning the same yarn, then they are knaves. As a direct result of America’s aggressive, ‘nation-building’ policies over the last eight years, the Middle East is about to explode — yesterday’s events in Egypt are but a harbinger of things to come. The systematic effort to unseat relatively secular, if undoubtedly unsavoury, regimes because they lack universal suffrage can only charitably be described as harebrained. Americans in general, and the neocons in particular, fail to notice that all those Shahs tend to be replaced by Khomeinis, not James Madisons. The natural successor to Mubarak will resemble Osama more than Obama. That chap whose name sounds like ‘I’m a dinner jacket’ makes all sane people feel nostalgic about the Shah — and it’s not impossible that even the ghastly Saddam and Gaddafi will be missed before too long. But at least enough ballots will be universally cast (and no doubt meticulously counted) to keep the neocons happy. 

Who, pray tell, will make the world safe from ‘democracy’ before a real catastrophe befalls?






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