The Aral Sea disaster is the responsibility of the dictator Josef Stalin who rose to power in 1941. Right up to his death in 1953, he desired to make the Soviet Union self-sufficient in cotton, which is used for gunpowder and clothing to boot. So, the successors of Stalin during the 1960s and 1970s allowed an unlimited amount of irrigation water to be tapped from both the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the northeast – to quench the thirst of the cotton fields.
The two rivers thus utilized were, of course, the only sources of water for the Aral Sea – which has now dried up, but which had previously accommodated the needs of a great variety of living beings, including a large number of humans (“Aral Sea”). Dictatorship is not the only opposite of democracy. The United Kingdom favors both monarchy and democracy. In earlier times, Great Britain could not have tolerated a democracy. Now, of course, democracy is the fad. United States, too, is not a pure democracy, although the nation thrives on democratic principles.
The reason why modern democratic nations have risen in great numbers is to counteract the possibility that authoritarian regimes would rise and make bad decisions for the people. It is in response to the cruelty and barbarianism of countless authoritarian regimes – going back to the Egyptian Ramses II’s regime, and beyond in the past – that the modern democracy fever has risen. Besides, recent human history has seen the likes of the French Revolution (18th century) – events to show that people have the power to pool their strength and fight governments in order to achieve their mutual goals.
As a matter of fact, the French Revolution happens to be an important milestone in the rise of democracy in modern times (“History of Democracy”). Additionally, the event serves to alert the leaders of nations that it is quite possible for the people to overturn the governments if their collective demands are not met by the government. The modern democratic nations of today, such as various European and American nations, are urging the non-democratic nations to adopt democracy so as to develop economically.
According to Thomas Friedman, the author of Lexus and the Olive Tree, it is essential for developed nations to be a part of the Electronic Herd, the globalized financial world; and for that it is essential to be a democracy. In a modern democracy, it is usually the perfectly competitive market model that develops the economy. This model of modern economics allows for quality improvement not only in products and services, but also in the overall standard of living of the peoples. The developed world has experienced that a democracy’s focus on the people calls for privatized businesses that lead the economy to power.
In an authoritarian regime, on the other hand, it is quite probable that the government would be controlling the business sector, and managing it quite badly. This is the reason why Argentina’s government suddenly privatized a large number of its industries in an effort to begin solid trade with the globalized world. Argentina realized that the government should give the business sector to the people who will know how to run it best (Cavallo). Similarly, the people in a democracy are expected to run their government best. It is the people who are meant to be governed.
Hence, democracy turns out to be a paradox that must balance out the role of the people against the role of the government. Depending on their capacity for self-governance, people choose their leaders wisely to support their causes in a democracy. Although the developed world of modern times believes in democracy the way many successful civilizations of old had trusted the idea of government in the interest of people; there are many countries of the world today that do not believe in either democracy or its special effect, globalization.
The Arab world in general is said to look favorably upon “persistent authoritarianism” instead (Hamzawy). In the West, typically, authoritarianism is nowadays looked down upon as a principle out of the Age of Ignorance. For the West, the authoritative state is akin to Michel Foucault’s Panopticon state. Foucault’s Panopticism begins with a detailed description of the measures to be taken against a seventeenth century plague. The government was meant to exercise absolute control over all citizens during such time, as spaces were to be partitioned and houses were to be closed off.
Stray animals were to be killed, and human beings were to be advised that they could only leave town if they wanted to be killed too. Moreover, guards were to be put on duty to keep a constant eye on the people. Every guard was to be informed that “if he leaves the street, he will be condemned to death. ” Such is the police state that the West abhors specially. The democracy of the modern times is the only answer to the Panopticon. Perhaps a democracy may only be delivered into the hands of authority at times of war (“History of Democracy”).
It may also be that throughout the future of world governance, nations would continue to alternate between democracies (in times of high economic growth) and authoritarianism (in times of danger).
Aral Sea. The Columbia Encyclopedia. (6th edition). New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. Cavallo, Domingo F. Lessons from Argentina's Privatization Experience. Journal of International Affairs Vol. 50, 1997. Democracy. Answers, 2007. Available at www. answers. com. (17 May 2007). Focault, Michel. Panopticism. Available. Online. Internet. Friedman, Thomas L. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization.
New York: Anchor Books, 2000. Hamzawy, Amr. For Democratic Change, Deal with Moderate Islamists. The Daily Star, 15 June 2005. History of Democracy. Wikipedia, 2007. Available at www. wikipedia. org. (17 May 2007). Maier, Timothy W. Oil Debate Boils - oil prices and United States presidential campaign. Insight on the News, 23 October 2000. Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty, 1998. Available at http://etext. library. adelaide. edu. au/m/m645o/m645o. zip. (24 April 2007). United States. CIA World Factbook, 8 February 2007. Available at http://www. cia. gov/cia/publications/factbook/. (4 March 2007).