As a counselor, it has been my duty to help children understand the principles of a healthy democracy. I did this through role-plays.
Origin and Necessity
Democracy is a system of governance wherein decision-making can be done within the country through the members elected by the common citizens.
All members of the democratic institution have equal hand and power in formulating decisions. Now it has to be figured out whether imposing democracies on other nations is appropriate.
The question arises why and how is democracy imposed on other states. Answers to it may vary, depending on the political situation in that country.
Simply said, a country defeated in war is occupied by the victors. If the victorious armies come from democratic nations they impose their rule. This can be termed as ‘imposed democracy’.
This was the usual practice of victorious kings in bygone eras. After conquering any country they imposed their rule.
Then that nation was ruled through their representative who had control of the army. The defeated had to comply.
After the two world wars and the defeat of imperialistic regimes, a new form of government started shaping. It was due to the US effect. Democracy had successfully been established in America.
Germany and Japan had been defeated in the second world war. They became the first targets of the US-imposed democracy.
This experiment was greatly successful as the people of these two nations had been devastated because of the war. It was implemented by the allied army.
This was a new trend of imposing rules. Henceforth, whenever national interest required or was hurt they imposed democracies on other countries. It became necessary for the United States.
A sound relationship is a must between nations. Then they can help each other in finding solutions to many problems people face in life.
Among the biggest suffering faced is poverty. The best solutions to these are only possible in a democracy
Also, it’s a fact that democratic nations have cooperated. They avoid clashes and waging war on others. They love to abide in peace.
Thus wherever necessary the imposition of democracy helps to promote the democratic processes in those countries.
Hence, the imposition of democracy has a positive side. In this perspective, America has gone about promoting democracy.
It always helps in boosting international development and progress.
The main causes of imposition have been the national interests of the US according to some Presidents.
They desired to intervene and bring about changes in those countries and help them progress. They thought their moves would also benefit America.
Their aim was honorable but without proper research and analysis. It has resulted in prolonged intervention in those states and heavy loss to the US.
The Bueno de Mesquita model suggests that some regimes acknowledge that they had people in their ranks who wouldn’t hesitate to depose them from power.
So they would only prefer intervention if the electorate empowers them to seek democratic imposition. And that step should be for the welfare of their nation.
Another prominent political analyst George Downs said that the democratic imposition was successful only in Germany and Japan.
But he clarified that it was because the people there didn’t desire another military power to rule and destroy them once more.
Modes of Implementation
Implementing democracy can be done in two ways basically – compulsory, or with legitimate consent.
But a proper procedure has to be followed. The consent of the other regime or government is necessary. Imposing democracy isn’t good for the health of any nation.
It ought to be done with proper consent and after taking into consideration the political situation prevailing.
In the context of Iraq and Afghanistan, it was done on the pretext of helping impose democracy. It has proved a colossal blunder.
It was a military intervention to establish peace and progress without thinking of the political situation there.
It cost the US a whopping amount of money besides the great loss of American lives and its prestige too.
According to prevalent statistics, America spent about $250 million in the middle-east region between 1991 to 2001 on its imposition program.
The main methods for imposing democracy can be briefly stated as under:
- Military aggression
- Proxy warfare
- Economic sanctions
- Information warfare
- Indirect aid
But a detailed study of the above points to improper modes of imposition. The US moved ahead through methods that haven’t brought the desired goals.
They have also misjudged their real allies and fair-weather friends, in many cases. It has cost them dearly.
There has been a great deal of criticism on the US role not only inside the country but from the outside also.
In its columns “The Huffington Post” had stated, earlier, that nearly half of the 80 countries and allies hosting US bases had little or nothing to do with democracy.
Another survey pointed out that only a quarter of the American electorate supported the imposition of democracy abroad.
The democracy promotion strategies of America have been found wanting concerning the following areas more:
- Selection of allies
We can visualize the reasons if a study is done from 1991 to the present times.
The millions of dollars wasted there would have been more beneficial for the American masses.
After-effects of Imposition
There is no doubt that democracy is important for our world to survive and prosper.
Also, an important part of democracy is to provide for the daily necessities of the people.
It’s practically impossible to provide everything from within the state. So one has to import from other states.
In such a situation, democratic nations share each other's products, services, and burdens. It is beneficial to all countries.
But when it comes to facing hurdles in procurements from countries having a surplus, governments are put in a fix.
Iraq, Afghanistan, and the other middle-east nations have a surplus of petroleum products.
The export of petroleum products was blocked to some nations by the Iraqi government,
This became a ground of intervention and imposition of democracy. Thus the US went about overthrowing an established regime.
So the whole process of the US-imposed democracy must be given a once over.
Then the beneficial modes of classical or any other forms of democracy should be brain-stormed and decided.
It has to be implemented properly. Discussion and proper accountability must be fixed on the people involved in its implementation.
Proper financial and time management must be figured out. After that, the outcome should be considered in the minutest details.
Accountability on the higher levels of administration could be a thoughtful consideration. They are the people involved in planning the projects.
It’s better to be more vigilant before going on adventures. We mustn’t forget, “A stitch in time saves nine”. The people mustn't be ready to bear the after-effects.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Bharat Sharan