One of the most undeniable and challenging foreign policy debates of the last several years has concerned the future of democracy and its role in human-rights law. The idea of Western societies encouraging democratization of non-western societies is believed to be cultural imperialism, which abuses the power of states in the developing world. However for the purpose of this paper, I view the support of democratization by Western societies as a positive approach to achieving the core significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that is supposedly recognized by all states.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created on the notion of a common human race. It represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are naturally entitled.
Of the fifty-eight countries that were members of the United Nations in 1948, forty-eight countries initially approved the document. Essentially all of the world’s states have approved it since then, which indicates that in any event its principle articles should be used by all states as an instrument in binding international law in spite of the presence of treaty ratification or state of war. Considering the fact that most countries have agreed to abide by the Declaration of Human Rights, it can be assumed that all states would have the intention to accomplish that in the best way possible.
With the intentions of protecting essential human rights, the promotion of democratization is crucial and the most proficient way possible. The twenty second article of the Declaration of Human Rights states that: (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
When taking this into consideration, it is evident that this necessary human right cannot be violated with the application of worldwide democracy. In general, democracy is defined as a form of government where all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Clearly, when article twenty-one and the definition of democracy are compared there is a noticeable parallel between the two. There is no other option besides the option of democracy that will guarantee the purpose of human rights to all human beings.
The belief that democratization should be promoted through human rights by Western states does not indicate that such promotion should be accomplished by way of aggression or with the wrong intentions. Spreading democracy to non-Western countries has recently been of particular interest in American foreign policy not only because of the encouragement of democracy, but because of other ulterior motives as well. One of the rationales that the Bush Administration employed periodically during the run-up to the Iraq war is that deposing Saddam Hussein and installing a democratic government in Iraq would promote democracy in other Middle Eastern countries. H
owever, when considering the fact that Iraq is in an area of the world that is fundamental to the U.S., it gives the impression that the spreading of democracy by invading Iraq was an approach to conceal their motives for improved Western access to Iraqi oil. The U.S. invading Iraq for their own personal gain is a prime example of the many immoral ways that the promotion of democracy can be misinterpreted. The main purpose of increasing world democracy is to secure peace internationally; therefore it cannot be done with acts of aggression and personal gain.
The American democratization of Japan was a momentous account of success. Throughout the seven year encouragement of democracy in Japan from 1945 until 1952, the U.S. restructured the Japanese government and provided balance after the downfall of WWII. This democratization gave the balance the Japanese needed to emerge as one of the strongest nations of the twentieth century by organizing the basis for democracy and successful capitalism. With the intent of introducing democratic values and eliminating imperialist customs, the U.S. was successful in promoting democracy to a non-Western state.
Even though supported democratization of Japan did not completely democratize this state, the influence of the U.S. after WWII caused Japan to gradually grow to become a more democratic state. Absence of aggression was a key component as to why this particular instance of democratization was successful.
Without a doubt, states should willingly promote democratization as part of human rights oriented policy. If the increase of world democracy is not encouraged it violates the key principles of the Declaration of Human Rights, which all states have consented to adhere to. That being said, democratization should be promoted with the intention of securing global peace and not with purpose of achieving a country’s own objects. Because the definition of democracy is a direct parallel to Article number twenty-two of the Declaration of Human Rights, democratization cannot be viewed as cultural imperialism due to the fact that each state has voted in favor of these human rights.
Briefly, each state that voted in favor of this declaration would therefore suggest each states approval of democratization.Works Cited “Democracy.” U.S. Department of State. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. . Diamond, Larry Jay., and Marc F. Plattner. Electoral Systems and Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2006. Print. “FORA.tv – Is Democracy Globally Viable?” FORA.tv – Videos from the World’s Best Conferences and Events. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. . “Iraq War Wasn’t Justified, U.N. Weapons Experts Say – CNN.” Featured Articles from CNN. 21 Mar. 2004. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. . Sen, Amartya. “Universal Truths: Human Rights and the Westernizing Illusion.” Amartya Sen, “Universal Truths: Human Rights and the Westernizing Illusion,” Harvard International Review, Vol. 20, No.3 (Summer, 1998), Pp. 40-43. Web. 9 Dec. 2011. . “United Nations Global Issues.”
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