Four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will see political changes at the top this year – including the United States. According to Stefan Kornelius of Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, these decisions, out of the hands of most of the world’s people, could decide the type of civilization most of us end up living in: some form of democracy or as the Chinese call it, ‘benevolent autocracy.’
2011 was the year of revolutions, outraged citizens and protest movements that all invoked the core values of the West: democracy, transparency and responsibility. The year 2012 will show where these values really stand, because 2012 will be a special test year for democracy.
the American presidential election in early November – very proximate in time to the meeting of the Chinese People’s Congress – holds a special fascination. U.S. democracy is far from the democratic ideal. The radicalization of American politics alienates many voters and encourages extremists. The Republicans and their populist cadre are sailing dangerously close to the abyss. The majority of people in the country no longer believe in the transformative power of politics. Cynicism toward democracy is the greatest wound to the system. America’s radiant power as a shining model of democracy has been diminished.
Seldom before has the world anticipated four such high-profile leadership decisions in a single year. All four are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and all will conduct foreign policy with an eye toward the popular mood. All four are tempted to underline their global importance with symbolic shows of strength, since incumbents expect to garner recognition, and citizens are expected to be more united.
Four nations, four decisions – and ultimately one realization: The politicians who sleep the soundest are those who know that a majority of the people are behind them. That is what engenders serenity and confidence. And how better to test such a majority than with free elections?
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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice