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The Dumbing Down of Democracy
The Wall Street Journal ^ | 07/09/09 | Daniel Henninger

Posted on 07/09/2009 12:18:59 AM PDT by AKSurprise

The pivotal foreign policy event so far in the Obama presidency was not this week's summit with Russia. It was instead that rarest of all events: Barack Obama's silence.

When the people of Iran filled the streets of their country demanding a fair election, the U.S. clutched for a week. Uncertain of whether U.S. interests lay with the nuke-building ayatollahs or the democracy-seeking population, the Obama team essentially mumbled sweet nothings through the first days of the most extraordinary world event in this young presidency's term. That moment of hesitation, when a genuine and strategically useful democratic moment needed support, could prove costly.

When the Group of Eight nations tried to shape a response to the Iranian government's repression, Russia knew what to say about Iran.

"No one is willing to condemn the election process," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, "because it's an exercise in democracy."

Behold the official dumbing down of democracy.

Our purpose here is not to ridicule Foreign Minister Lavrov's absurd description of the Iranian elections. It is instead to show his statement the respect that anything dangerous deserves.

Two years ago in June, Vladimir Putin's main press spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, visited the offices of the Journal editorial page. It was a remarkable meeting. The editors asked about the widely discussed criticisms of the Putin government's actions against opposition political parties and individuals and its control of the media. With a calm and confident smile, Mr. Peskov replied: "Ours is a different system of democracy." That was it. He stopped talking but kept smiling. The message sank in.

Dmitry Peskov was defining democracy in a way that could hardly be more different than the system of political pluralism developed over the past 300 years in the West. He couldn't have been clearer: We are changing the rules.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: autocrats; democracy; obama; theocracy
Holding elections provides the first outward sign that the democratization process is taking place. However elections must be transparent and verifiable in order to be accepted by the people and by other governments. Even with open and free elections without social equality, economic freedom, civil rights, and equal access to the government, true democratization cannot be claimed to have occurred.

Obama, and much of the worldwide left believe Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Zelaya are legitimate democratic leaders, because they won elections. This to the left, is a shift towards democracy because they are breaking away from the old system of governance in Iran, Venezuela, and Honduras respectively, where patronage and corruption oiled the machinery of the state. While these new systems are not multiparty or constitutionally consistent as were the governments of their predecessors in the 1980's, these governments are working to give the poor and all people of their nations, not a wealthy, leisurely lifestyle which the left scorns, and considers consistent with Western democracies, but instead offers the poor "lives of dignity", and "honest humility".

Clientelism and patronage still rule the day in much of Latin America, and the Mid-East. While autocrats such as Chavez, and Zelaya claim to be ruling and working for the benefit of the poor, they offer no betterment of life, but only a social welfare system that keeps all members of society equally impoverished. Venezuela's Chavez has also claimed the changes he is implementing while not producing many benefits for the people will take 20 or more years to show results, plus he has changed the constitution so he can be El'Presidente for life. Zelaya attempted to do much the same in Honduras, which is why the Constiutionally empowered Supreme Court ordered his arrest, and removal from power. Ahmadinejad, supported by the Theocratic Iranian regime, for his part has stolen an election, and made his political opponents disappear. The images and the reports we all received via Twitter, and from other sources, were frightening to say the least. None of this is democratic, in any shape, manner or form. These are the people Obama want's to meet with, "without preconditions".

The international left has a shallow notion of democracy, believing that less emphasis should be placed on the appearance of democracy through institutions, but rather emphasizing benefits people receive, and trusting that autocrats and dictators will be constrained by their consciences, and by international, and NGO oversight. This is utter nonsense.

A dictator benign or not is still a dictator, no one can trust in the goodwill or self-restraint of a person that places themselves above the law, and above the rest of society. A democratic system without checks and balances, making the law king, is not a democratic system at all, but rather a feeble, twisted copy of one. Civil society and social organizations should be independent and be able to affect the will of the state through mass membership and political power. If the state controls all groups within society and clamps down on those it does not, then it is not democratic, but rather autocratic. In the end the most important test of democracy is does the state work for the people or do the people work for the state. More and more in Latin American countries, and in Iran it seems the people work for the state. That is not democratic, but rather communist and autocratic.

1 posted on 07/09/2009 12:18:59 AM PDT by AKSurprise
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To: AKSurprise
Thanks for helping to get this straight for everyone.

Zelaya was not removed in a military coup. He was kicked out of office by a vote of his congress as provided for in the Honduran constitution.

Clearcut case of malfeasance and misfeasance in office. He demanded a referendum to amend the constitution to allow him to continue in office or at least to run again. Congress turned him down. He then ordered the military to intervene in setting up the referendum. They refused.

He sacked the chief of staff and continued agitating for the referendum with encouragement (cash, arms) from Chavez, Morales, Castro, and Lula (surprise, surprise.) Zelaya refused to implement last year's national budget. He refused to account for internationally raised development loans under his personal charge, he began singing during public events, and otherwise behaving in a bizarre fashion at public events. I mean who does this guy think he is, Obama?

For these and other sins (including asking his supporters to wear their underwear outside their clothes, and making Swedish the national language) the leftist clymer was sacked.

Our government's support for Zelaya is inane. There is a national election campaign uynderway right now in Honduras, with the candidate of Zelaya's party doing well. The constitutional interim President, Micheletti, is also from Zelaya's party. He will turn over the reins of government to the winner of the election, as called for by the Honduran constitution.

The braying of the Kenyan Jackass on this topic merely proves his lack of knowledge and of guts. That is unless the teleprompter kid is a for-real commie SOB like Castro and Chavez.

2 posted on 07/09/2009 10:01:18 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk (What's with the Obama Birth Certificate Fuss? Hitler was a foreigner. So was Stalin.)
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