Wednesday August 10, 2022

Democracy summit, undemocratic practices

December 04, 2021

Democracy in essence is guarantor of inclusiveness, equal opportunities and respect for diversity. It strives to ensure the dignity and peaceful coexistence. Thus, democracy is considered the fundamental human right and need of every human being to grow and live in a peaceful environment. Human history and historical events also point towards the same direction. Although, it is universal good, but every nation and society try to define the democracy according to their own believes and values. The nations try to mold the democracy serve the people in the context of national realities, values and believes. Along the history we can find many models of democracy, including Greece model, Roman model, Islamic model and Chinese model etc.

However, in the present world the prevailing model of democracy revolves around the concepts and theories which have been originated from the Western values and norms. It has been presented as the most sophisticated form of democracy which cares for inclusiveness, equal opportunities and respect for diversity. The Western world is insisting, rather compelling other nations to buy the Western brand of democracy, which is not healthy or fair practice. They have started to categorize nations on the basis of the Western standards. In recent times, they have initiated the campaign to malign other nations at the name of democracy. Although, the concepts and theories follow the historical values and norms, but the practices vary according to the needs and preferences of Western world. It also does not cater for the needs and values of other nations.

In modern days, economic dimension has become the most prominent feature of Western democracy at the cost of society. Economic interests have become so powerful that Western world does not hesitate to attack nations in the disguise of democracy. United States of America in collaboration with allies has launched numerous attacked on different nations. They have applied the tools of economic sanctions and wars. The list of wars is long and scary. They have destroyed countries and left millions of people to starve. Iraq, Libya and Syria are the most recent examples. Owning to wars millions of people have been compelled to leave the countries or starve. Hundreds of thousands innocent people have been killed during the process of introduction of democracy.

On other side, economic sanctions have been used to get the desired results. Economic sanctions are being applied to get the results like slow poisoning. They compelled the nations to starve and die bit by bit. In the process they do not care for the human life leave alone the human rights, rights of women and children. We can find many examples from the history and still many countries are under economic sanctions. Western world also used economic sanctions to check the rise of any other nation on economic front. They even used economic sanctions against the Western style democracies by putting the argument of unfair election or any such allegation. The purpose is to hinder their rise on economic front.

Howbeit, the worst side of Western style democracy is that it does not tolerate any other type or model of democracy and China is latest victim on this front. China has its own model of democracy, which has been built on the concepts and theories of inclusiveness, equal opportunities, respect for dignity and prosperity of society. China calls it whole process democracy, which is different from the Western electoral democracy. China defines it as; it is a continuous process and involves each and every individual of the society without any discrimination on the basis of development status of ethnicity. The goals of Chinese whole process democracy are 1) good governance, 2) dignity of people and 3) prosperity of society. China defines the prosperity and well-being of people as fundamental human right. These features are the basic and essential ingredients of the democracy, but West is not satisfied with this.

They are not in mood to accept it as democracy. The West terms it as autocracy or authoritative system etc., which in reality is true democracy. China has evolved the system on the basis of 5000 years’ civilisation and thoughts of elders like Confucius, Tao, Yellow Emperor etc. The system is delivering to people. China once a poverty-ridden country is now poverty-free country with better facilities for people. China is also leading the race for innovation and patents. Prosperity is common phenomena in the country. It is now second biggest economy and leading the path for fourth industrial revolution. It is on the way to become the biggest economy of the world and it is real problem for Western countries.

They feel China is a threat to their hegemony and their control over the world. They feel China is helping countries to break the shackles of poverty and debt trap woven by the Western countries and institutions. The Western countries are unable to compete with China. Thus, they have introduced the slogan of democracy to check the rise of China. The US once again is leading the campaign. The US has called summit on democracy. The structure and programme of summit show that it is against the basic spirit of democracy on the basis of multiple reasons. First, it is exclusive. The US has only invited limited number of countries. The exclusion of other systems and countries means that it does not care for diversity. Second, business community has been especially invited but common people are missing from the invitation list. Besides, business community is predominately from the selected countries. Third, civil society has been invited but again from the selected countries. Civil society from the poor countries is not represented properly. Fourth, it seems that the focus will be on the economic interests of private sector and democracy and human rights will only be used as smoke screen. Fifth, it is targeting the China at the name of democracy, but real objective is to check rise of China. It is against the spirit of equal opportunities and respect for the dignity of other nations.

Thus, it is expected that summit will polarise the world and new blocks will emerge. It is bad sign, as world direly needs cooperation and joint efforts to tackle the issues of pandemic, climate change, food insecurity, water and energy. It is a well established fact that pandemic and climate change have jolted whole system of the world and no individual country will be able to tackle these issues. The sane voices across the world are asking the US and allies to leave these practices and join hands. It is not choice; it is need of the time. The failure to join hands will lead to disaster and no one will be safe from the impacts of the disasters.

China is already advocating for the unity and has presented the idea of community with shared future but with respect to diversity and the inclusiveness. It will be a win-win proposition, which is needed at this point of time. Let’s hope sanity will prevail for the good.

The writer is Chief Executive Officer of Asian Institute of Eco-civilisation

Research and Development