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Sunday, February 18, 2018

American intellectuals are confused about the understanding of democracy

A group of influential intellectuals, specialists in international politics believes that the promotion of democracy in the world of American arms should continue regardless of who becomes the next President Clinton or trump. The only problem is that they formulated the view of the world only discreditied the idea of “American-style democracy”.

In March on the website of the American edition “Foreign policy” (Foreign Policy) was published, open for signature a letter to the presidential candidates, under the slogan “the United States needs to put democracy at the centre of its foreign policy.” At the moment this text was signed by 146 representatives of the American political elite, including the former Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul and other retired employees of the state Department, as well as existing employees of the Carnegie institution, Harvard, Stanford, “freedom house, Hoover institution, at the Hudson Institute and other “think tanks”.

“Were any of the terrorists, those who politically are viewed in Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Tehran and Damascus? No. But there were those whom Americans supported”

However, only recently was made Russian translation of the letter, which is now actively spreading on Facebook. And I must say that this text really gives you the understanding of what advanced think US citizens about the state of Affairs in international politics and of America’s role in them. These people are really patriots of their country and, regardless of whether they are trump or Clinton, want their country was great. With their understanding of what democracy, the situation is somewhat more complicated.

First, the authors of the appeal claim that democracy is right for all countries, including the United States, in a purely utilitarian purposes: “Despite the fact that the United States is forced to maintain relations with autocratic governments, there are good reasons why most of our closest allies are democracies. Free countries are more economically successful, more stable and more reliable partners for the United States. Democratic societies are less likely to start aggression and war against its neighbors or its own people. Also they are less at risk through the collapse of state institutions, becoming a hotbed of instability and terrorism, as is happening in Syria. This means that promoting democracy serves U.S. interests and contribute to order and peace in the world”.

In this passage there are only two indisputable statement: “the United States is forced to maintain relations with the autocratic government” and “promoting democracy serves U.S. interests”. Everything else is pretty controversial.

The main US ally in the middle East – Saudi Arabia – not just autocracy and a totalitarian state. However, it is relatively successful, stable and reliable. China is not a democracy on the Western model, but he also is quite successful and, despite all political controversies, is a reliable partner of the United States. If you go back a little, you can remember and that is clearly undemocratic Pinochet and many other dictators around the world were also quite a reliable partner of Washington.

The following thesis – “a democratic society is less likely to start aggression and war against its neighbors.” Indeed, with the neighbors the US is no longer fighting, though once taken from Mexico, Texas and Northern California. But globally, the US and its democratic allies are fighting regularly. Moreover, since there is no threat to these countries, starting with Vietnam, continuing Yugoslavia to Iraq (not to mention Panama, Grenada, Libya, etc.). – US is not represented, the Americans ‘ actions can hardly be called otherwise, except as armed aggression, even with good intentions.

The statement about “less risk through the collapse of state institutions” also does not hold water. You can largely blame the pre-war Ukraine, but not in the absence of democracy. As a result of free elections in the country were regularly changed by the power, and journalists quietly wrote about what I wanted. It did not help. Armenia is also a very democratic country, but state institutions are regularly checked for strength. But in the concrete strength of the state in China or in Saudi Arabia there is no doubt, though democracy was not developed.

Finally, the fact that American intellectuals have cited the example of Syria, Russia has called the attempt to shift the blame on others. First USA militarily destroyed statehood in neighboring Iraq based on fabricated, recall reason, and then supported by the weapon of the opponents of the legitimate government in Damascus. However, the blame for that, in the end, Syria has become a hotbed of terrorism, is shifted to the former ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad.

Go ahead. “In recent years, such authoritarian regimes as Russia and China, have become more repressive; they perceive the promotion of democracy not only within its borders but in neighbouring States as a threat to its monopoly on political power. The attitude of the regime to their own residents often indicates how he will behave toward their neighbors outside their borders. Thus, we should not be surprised that so many political and economic challenges before us, comes from such places as Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Tehran and Damascus,” – say the American intellectuals, referring to the presidential candidates.

In General, put in a number of Russia, where many political parties and independent media, and virtually one-party China, with its “great firewall” and the state monopoly on information is not quite correct. For the article in the tabloid, this may be acceptable, but not for text where most of the signatories have a degree. But much more interesting, what exactly is “increasing repression”, for example, in Russia? Compared to what? As he said on another occasion Vladimir Putin, “where land”?

The same in China. “Umbrella revolution” in Hong Kong has not led to any major changes. And it is not clear what “promoting democracy in neighbouring countries” refers to. In the case of Russia, for example, we are talking about Ukraine, which is now actively inculcated unanimity in the best traditions of totalitarian States (apparently because the ocean is not so so much), but near the Chinese border, nothing similar to such “democracy promotion” until it happens. What are you, gentlemen intellectuals?

What is the main challenge for the modern civilization is terrorism, recognized by all. Were any of the terrorists, those who politically is viewed in Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Tehran and Damascus? No. But there were those who supported the Americans when they fought against Moscow: bin Laden, the Taliban, the Chechen terrorists. There were those who fought against Damascus – came from LIH*. That is the situation exactly opposite to that on which the letter says.

Who among the terrorists really had a lot, so that citizens of the main authoritarian U.S. ally – Saudi Arabia. However, the challenge is not considered. But the desire of Iran to have access to nuclear energy and China’s effort to protect shipping in the South China sea – it proves to be a challenge for US. This is not to mention the fact that the economic challenges coming from Beijing, became possible only thanks to the fact that China is the largest trading partner of the USA.

There are in the text and direct contradictions. For example, States: “Over the past four decades the number of countries that are free and democratic, has increased more than two times”. Three paragraphs later we read the following: “According to Freedom House, over the last decade freedom around the world annually declining.” It is unclear whether the freedom three decades grew, and then the trend turned in the opposite direction, whether the authors just didn’t read this text before publication and signing. And if freedom is reduced, what causes this is caused by the addition of a sinister conspiracy Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Koreans and Syrians?

There is in circulation and passage, which was signed would be many citizens of other countries: “Support for freedom around the world does not mean imposing American values or conduct of military interventions”. If American intellectuals really think so, this is welcome. But why then many of the signatories of the letter has publicly supported these interventions? Are they ready to admit that the invasion of Yugoslavia or Iraq was a catastrophic mistake?

According to the text further – no. “Instability characterizing the middle East for many decades is a direct result of years of authoritarian repression, lack of accountability and suppression of civil society, not the Arab spring of 2011.” Again, the question arises, why do some authoritarian States – allies of the United States quietly exist without government accountability and the almost complete absence of civil society, and those who were not pleased Washington, suddenly there is instability? Probably a coincidence, not otherwise. And again, Ukraine was both democracy and civil society, and the regular turnover of power. But the instability turned out quite the Arab level.

Another unprovable statement: “throughout the world, ordinary people continue to demonstrate their preference for democracy and accountability”. On the basis of a poll made by such a conclusion? It is unlikely that the authors conducted research in the same Iran (where, recall, regularly changing presidents) or China.

In fact, all over the world ordinary people are primarily concerned with security and material well-being. How the authorities do it, people usually are not so fundamentally. In the United States, for example, “ordinary people” and their representatives in Congress agree to a serious infringement of democratic principles and freedoms in the name of fighting terror.

To recap. Unfortunately, in this case, American intellectuals are unable to form an attractive image of democracy, as they use questionable or false evidence. Threat to its neighbors, the government of Saudi Arabia in the text is not even mentioned, because it is a US ally. Such different countries as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Syria, are placed in a row to enhance the propaganda effect. A call for American leadership to abandon the military interventions in this jumble of distortions and lies is simply lost.

Perhaps the fact that American intellectuals are not ready to understand and accept that the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is based on not only their state. All people want to live freely and happily. But the forced imposition of freedom by bombing or externally imposed revolutions, yet no one ever made me happy.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”

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