Friday, April 4, 2008

Δημοκρατία

Can democracy work as a system of government in every culture or every country? Do democratic countries have a responsibility to encourage democratization, or to subvert nondemocratic governments? Should democracies allow monarchies, theocracies, and other autocratic or otherwise repressive regimes to continue without interference when it’s in our economic best-interest? Can the ideal of individual rights and self-determination be upheld if democracy is foisted upon a state that has never wanted it?

Image source: Composite of images in CIA World Factbook

5 comments:

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Yes - if given enough time. Yes - if such is based on the desire for improving the human condition. No - see second answer. Yes - if they've never had it they don't know that they want it.

Now, the same questions could be asked of all political/economic systems -- and the same answers given. Some would argue that the motivation to spread a particular political system (see #2) is immaterial. Would I fight another system forced on me? Yep, no doubt -- because I don't believe there is one that is better than what we have -- which is not a true democracy anyway.

Pat Jenkins said...

your last question bares serious debate erd. not that the others don't. but i will focus on the last. i have been one who believes that if democracies are to be sustained, it must be a movement generated from within. and that would mean it does not bode well for iraq or even still the old soviet union. but this is also where america's roll of policer of democracy has been appreciated. in places such as japan and germany after wwII. where america's influence has been the way to a better union. this then does promote the idea that iraq at least in this development will be a success!!

E. R. Dunhill said...

PJ,
Following this line of reasoning, the notion that democracy (or the various forms of government we call democracy) is a function of the people, should all democracies look substantially the same? For instance, is it possible to create a democracy based in part upon sharia? Should existing democracies be static or dynamic?

Jenn said...

These were some of my favorite questions to debate in international relations courses. While not routinely coming up in my current job, I still ponder them as I look around the world and see the current situations.

The most powerful movements are those that are grassroots style - bottom up, not top down. In particular they are uniquely tied to the culture, time, and perspective of the people in question.

I think there is a place for outside influence, assistance, and support. The question becomes the line of demarcation between support and foisting a paradigm.

Much as I hate to prevaricate, much depends on particular situations at hand.

Pat Jenkins said...

well you birng up a great point erd. go figure huh!!!! he he!! nations have to have a central tenant for a democracy. as we in america have rightly done so with the inaliable rights of man!!! but if a nation chooses another foundation the question must be asked are they no longer a democracy?