Democracy Equals Chaos
There has been no period in the past where the fate of democracy has been so uncertain, with so many democratic nations fighting disorder and chaos within their borders. In virtually every democratic state, a large percentage of citizens are dissatisfied with the workings of democracy, with populism and autocratic regimes preferred. America itself is divided into warring tribes with compromise to run an effective government rejected. It is in no position to aid other democratic countries dealing with upheavals.
Britain is scrambling to conclude Brexit and withdraw from the European Union, with significant economic damage likely to result. The pro-Brexit voters did not comprehend what withdrawal from the EU would do to the economy, focused instead on immigration. Now the nation cannot seem to find a way to effect the separation.
France is in the midst of a giant upheaval, with police battling yellow-vested rioters in the streets of all the major cities. The conflict has dealt France a major economic blow with holiday season sales in many stores taking a hit, fires and vandalism destroying many properties. Middle and working class Frenchman did not share Macron’s vision for France and found themselves pressed financially by gasoline and other taxes. Macron has given way on some of his new regulations, but what does that indicate for future reform.
Angela Merkel is set to resign at the end of her term with new leadership coming to Germany, Europe’s most stable state and the anchor of the EU. But the Alternative for Germany, a far right party has been gaining ground along with the Greens, and the path Germany will follow is unclear. Poland is morphing into an autocratic state with the Law and Justice Party in control and supporting neither the law nor justice under its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Hungary is already a complete autocracy under Viktor Orban whose Fidesz Party dominates politics, the economy and all the media.
Russia has also completed the transition from democracy to a totalitarian state, with Vladmir Putin in charge of everything. While its economy is weak, their nuclear arsenal and conventional armaments are strong, and they have been using cyber warfare to bring down democratic states. There has been little pushback other than economic sanctions from democracies. Turkey has also become under the sway of a dictator Recep Erdogan, arising from a multi-party democracy to become a complete autocracy.
The Philippines has also evolved from democracy into an autocracy, under the wand of Rodrigo Dutarte who has set about killing drug dealers and users extra-judicially in the streets of the country. Thousands of innocents have been murdered without trials to settle personal scores. Thailand has gone from a democratic state to one controlled by the military because the urban elite was unhappy with the way their democracy was working. Myanmar which was moving towards a democracy has regressed with the military still in control. And India, the world’s most populous democracy, has become more and more autocratic and nationalistic under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Radical right-wing Hindus are dominating the government.
In Latin America, Brazil is moving towards autocracy with the election of Jair Bolsonaro as a right-wing, populist president. Venezuela is already a totalitarian state under Nicholas Maduro who inherited leadership from Hugo Chavez. Chavez had been elected democratically and assumed control of every element of the government, the economy and the media. Venezuela is currently a failed state, lacking food, medicine, and so forth. Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega overthrew democracy and attained autocratic control.
Thus we see that all over the world, democracy is in trouble, with populism and autocracy eliminating freedom and the rule of law. The people in many nations are making their preferences known which results in demagogues assuming command. There is no leadership from the United States to staunch the bleeding and heal the wounds. Will the political system labelled democracy survive the turn towards populism and autocracy?