For the past half century, democracy has been the political ideology. The cold war saw a concerted effort to promote democracy, led by the USA. Since then, more and more countries have moved towards some form of democracy as the specter of communism was beat back. The idea of everyone’s opinion being considered in an equal and fair manner, without prejudice, captured the imagination of millions around the world. The recent spate of political upheaval in Arab stats, dubbed the Arab Spring, was heralded as the dawning of true democracy in the Middle East. But reality presents a far more murky picture, one where democracy’s success and future are both called into question. Here’s an examination of where democracy stands across the world.
Hardly the home of democracy, the recent series of regime changes in the Middle East have led to the purported ‘Arab Spring’, the rejuvenation and flourishing of democratic ideals in the Middle East. While the protests were certainly against existing regimes, it is difficult to say conclusively that they were calls for greater democracy.
Egypt’s elections now means it finally has a truly elected leader of the country. But the government is interestingly enough, filled with many old faces from the old regime. A struggle for power between various factions in the Egyptian political system continues, all the while at the expense of the livelihood of many Egyptians.
Libya successfully deposed of Qadaffi, but now finds itself split, whether along geographical or tribal lines. Attempts to create a democratic system have been faced with countless difficulty. Whilst many people opposed the Qadaffi regime, there is yet little evidence that there is large scale support for a new democratic system. If anything, many groups and communities are now merely turning to other forms of rule.
Iraq, after years of fighting, remains mired in ethnic clashes that make the democratic system unworkable. Pakistan’s democratic system continues to face uncertainty, not least because of continued threat from extremist groups, but also from the discord between various military, civilian, rural and ethnic factions.
Iran, despite it’s obviously undemocratic regime, still manages to maintain its economic interests and continues to develop its nuclear program, despite the continued attempt by western countries to pressure the regime through economic means. For a government system lacking in democracy, Iran is not doing too badly.
Next time: Conclusion