voice for democracy


Forcibly altering a nation’s governing structure creates chaos
The world is not homogenous and can’t be made into one. The United States has failed to understand cultural variables that drive governance models across the world. It should have learned early that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. The modern world fancies democracy as the only viable governance model, as they haven’t experienced better models in the past. The intent of the West and especially the US to transform nations into democracies is an unrealisableday dream. Successfully ageing democracies have strong cultural fundamentals of tolerance and defined social values. Nations with authoritarian and hybrid regimes neither understand the spirit of democracy nor can implement democratic governance. India was not a democracy prior to 1947. However, 800 years prior to foreign occupation, it was ruled by kings democratic in their outlook. India’s cultural fundamentals for centuries were of tolerance, simplicity, divinity, self-sufficiency, universal harmony and knowledge. After 1947, ancient values of this civilization could easily allow India to adopt democracy and continue successfully as a vibrant and functional democracy. Afghanistan is the latest American mis-adventure to export democracy. Foreign entities cannot dictate governance models for a nation and expect its citizens to follow them. Democracy is a mind-set. It could be the best possible governance model available to the world now, and some democracies like the US, the UK, Germany and France might feel it suits the entire world too. Only 49 per cent of nations have adopted democracy as a governance system. Nineteen per cent of them seem to be truly functional democracies while 30 per cent are flawed or dysfunctional. That leaves us with around 51 per cent of nations completely non-democratic. China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Jordan are among non-democracies that are still vibrant economies. China with a differential governance, social and economic model other than a democracy, has even become a global super power. Altering a nation’s character thinking that human aspirations are the same and can be achieved by a homogenized approach is flawed.
This cultural and political prejudice can be a recipe for a huge disaster. President Joe Biden’s recent press briefing suggests the US hasfinally realized that democracy is not a ‘saleable commodity’. Nobody, not even the US, and with the best of intentions can shape the future course of a nation by forcefully altering its governance structures. Historic failures in Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and recently Afghanistan show us that. I can understand a war destroying a nation. However, occupying a nation to change its fundamental structure is a foolish enterprise. Mindless initiatives of ‘building nations’ has led many nations in recent times into horrifying chaos, violence and poverty. Afghanistan today stands as a broken nation with no possibility of repair in the near future. It is heartbreaking to see the plight of its innocent citizens trying to flee their war-torn nation with their families. Images of hordes of people clinging on to the sides of an aircraft show the unprecedented desperation of Afghan citizens. Developments like this impact not just a nation but also the neighborhood, region, sub-continent and even an entire continent. The outcome of this mess is global and can destabilize political, social and economic course of many nations in the region. Situations like this also provide opportunities for nations with expansionist intentions to exploit it and ‘fish in shallow waters’ for their selfish geo-political ambitions. The US, its formal and informal allies in Europe and elsewhere should realize that democracy is not an ‘exportable commodity’. Unilaterally trying to impose this model on random nations will not only fail but also lead huge global events that can displace and destroy millions of lives across the world.
(The writer is the Chief Spokesperson of the BJP in Telangana State and an Organizational Strategist. The views expressed are personal.)