Sunday, May 08, 2022

International Democracy vs American Democracy

 Google defines democracy as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

When we look at national democracy, we are looking at the population of that nation making decisions through its elected representatives as such the American democracy is a democracy that has been shaped into being by the people of America for the years that it has been in existence. 

At the level of international democracy, we are looking at the world population as a whole, but also looking at individual national democracies in their various regions shaped by the people of different cultures values and ideologies.

There seem to be very few principles of democracy that can be encouraged at the international level of democracy without conflicting with the cultural values of different nations.

At the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, I had to find out more about both sides of the conflict and discovered among other things that Russia is a democracy and the Western countries, the USA, the UK and the EU do not acknowledge that but still consider it as a dictatorship. The Russian Constitution in  Article 1 says 

"The Russian Federation - Russia is a democratic federative law-governed state with a republican form of government." 

I realised the absence of the acknowledgement on the part of the western countries of democracy in Russia might be due to the differences in the way democracy in Russia has been implemented and the way it has been implemented in the Western Countries. Surely, what the people of Russia value is not the same as what the Western countries value. 

Another thing that came to light today is the restrictions the Taliban government is implementing in Afghanistan. Taliban is a world that means "student" according to Wikipedia, and it is said that the Taliban government does not allow women and girls to be in schools and yet there is a claim that the same Taliban government requires women to only visit female doctors. Does the Taliban government contradict itself? Surely, a student values education more than anyone else. Surely if there is an expectation of having female doctors, then there are means that women would attain such education. 

The USA has been to Afghanistan to try and establish democracy by force and yet the Taliban got back into government also by force meaning that they have not valued whatever the USA government was establishing. I could only think that perhaps the USA was advancing its own cultural values to a people that holds a completely different view of things according to their own culture. 

From these observations, I am thinking that we should consider separating principles of international democracy from the American view of democracy. Democracy is considered to be a type of government that recognizes the differences in views of its people and encourages co-existence and tolerance among the people of differing views. While this might exist within the USA, the USA fails to tolerate differing views of other democracies in the world. It fails to co-exist with other people in the world whose views are different from its own. 

The world has cultures and views different according to each region and when considering international democracy, we may need to consider also tolerance of these different cultures other than imposing views of the dominant democracies for that in itself is being undemocratic.

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