The ideology of democracy has been the common theme in the political sphere all over the world. However, while some countries have embraced democracy long time ago to others the idea of democracy is far to be realized. This paper presents arguments that seek to probe if there is need for the United States to promote democracy abroad and ways to achieve this. It also seeks an understanding if President Obama is for promoting democracy abroad and what the current aspects of American democracy promotion are in the context of democracy in the Middle East.
The need for U.S to promote democracy abroad For a long time the United States of America has always believed that universally its ideals and political principles are theoretically applicable. All of the American leaders have greatly focused on the promotion of the democracy which they considered to be one of the key elements of America’s international role. To this far democracy promotion has become an important priority for not only the United States but also for other national actors. This has been attributed to global wave of democratization and its objective lessons that have made it to be a global value.
It has proved to have with it desirable benefits such as rapid and more equitable economic growth, improved quality of human life, emergence and proliferation of both domestic and international nongovernmental organizations. The proponents of democracy promotion maintain that democracies do not go to war with one another. This idea is commonly referred to as democratic peace thoery. It is also believed that democracies create free markets that offer economic opportunity and make trading partners more reliable to each other as well as have less likelihood to go wage war against each other. The administration of George W.
Bush considered democracy promotion as a long term remedy for terrorism in the world. It is perceived that it is due to inequality in political participation and access to wealth resources in a country coupled with lack of freedom of speech as well as poor education which is the source of volatility in any given country. Promotion of basic human rights, freedom of speech, press religion, association and provision of an independence justice system shapes effective democracies that enable to overcome terrorism. Besides this there is belief that democracies promote economic prosperity of the country.
Rule of law make a more stable society and leads to an equal economic opportunity that spur economic activity and its growth especially in per capita income. Democracy is viewed as a profile to create a good trading partner by outside investors because of prevailing stable environment. Similarly, countries that exercise democracy are considered to more likely to honor treaties. In regards to American security interests for about two centuries, American people have enjoyed security and prosperity due to the advances of democracy globally.
As it has been noted, serious enemies of the United States have been exercising dictatorship. In addition, Al Qaeda and other non-state enemies of the United States support illiberal ideologies and such movement recruits the majority of their follower from people who are living in autocratic countries. Therefore, for America to continue enjoying security and increase the spectra of its reliable partners there is need for it to promote democracy abroad to nations which have not embraced democratization process.
Lack of Democracy in Middle East The Middle East for a long time has been resistance to democracy. Since period of imperial rule by Ottoman Empire, Britain and France to contemporary political and military intervention authoritarian regimes have considerably prevailed in favor of governing elite and the companies of the imperial countries. Lack of democracy in the Middle East has raised heated debate where some arguing that democracy is incompatible with Islamic culture and values.
As such, this has significantly caused much resistance in Middle East to embrace democracy while there has been significance progress toward democratization in regions like Africa, Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe. One of the explanations of this situation that has been offered by analysts is due to ‘prerequisite failure’ in the region. The civil society there is not strong enough to develop effective countervailing power that would force the state to be accountable to the popular preferences which is actually a deficit in the region.
Due to lack of democracy in the Middle East, President George W. Bush during his administration, he placed democratization at the center of his Middle East policy. In fact, U. S intervention in Iraq as part of a new policy to build democracy in the Middle East was aimed to be an initiative that would transform it into a functioning democratic state and thus inspire change in neighboring societies. President George W. Bush administration focused on the liberation of the Iraqi people from dictatorship regimes with hope that a new Iraq would act as a beacon of democracy for the rest of the region .
President Barrack Obama and Promotion of Democracy Abroad Close to half a decade now since President George W. Bush administration declared a mission of America to spread democracy with aim to end tyranny in the world, seemingly his successor team has not picked the mantle. Some people view that President Obama appears poised to go back to a more traditional American policy that deals with the world as it is instead of what it might be. According to many of the Democrats, they consider democracy overseas to be lower on the agenda, where President Obama appears to side.
According to one of his interviews with The Washington Post just before his inauguration, he said that he preferred to consider the promotion of democracy through what he called ‘a lens’ that practically deliver a better life for people on the ground and be less obsessed with form but more focused on the substance. His Inaugural Address indicated a sharp contrast from that of George W. Bush four years ago. As Mr. Bush saw the spread of freedom as the central goal of American policy, President Obama on this issue was just a passing reference.
Beside this, his secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, outlined a policy of three D’s that is, defense, diplomacy and development and democracy did not feature in the list. Therefore, President Obama administration is unlikely to press for democracy and freedom in the Middle East which was the main focus of the Bush administration’s policy in that region. This is due to the fact that Bush administration’s policy resulted in negative reactions and destabilization impact that probably make President Obama administration to shift from efforts that have been discredited in democracy promotion.
Ways to Promote Democracy Abroad For U. S promotion of democracy abroad to be successful there are several issues that need to be addressed. To begin with, the United States need to be a good role model. To be able to inspire other nations to embrace democracy they need to perfect their own democracy by first championing it at home before going abroad. In the process of promoting democracy abroad, the United States needs to restrain itself in use of military force because regimes that are planted using bayonets are not likely to take root.
Instead of using military power, it should employ other forms of coercive power like economic sanctions, rhetorical threats or convert assistance to ‘freedom fighters’ that have been successful in the past. There should be appreciation of interrelated relationship between democracy and economic development which should be perused. Nations which are making progress in strengthening democratic institutions are more likely to control corruption and be responsible economic recipients and such countries should be rewarded with a democratic divided by giving an injection of economic assistance.
This would in turn motivate other nations which have not embraced democracy to take. Lastly, President Obama administration should be realistic and patient as the present international context is not favorable to contain rapid or substantial democracy change. To help democrats around the world who have been inspired by President Obama election to realize the change, they need development of realistic goals and concrete actions that would help their cause rather than abandonment of their cause altogether. Conclusion All American leaders considered democracy promotion as one of the America’s international role.
According to democracy peace theory countries that have embraced and are advanced in democratization, they have harmonious co-existence as compared to those which have not. They have respect for human rights and are believed to create a free market which is an economic opportunity. U. S in its mission to promote democracy abroad, the Middle East has been the focus of attention because it has been resistance to democracy and associated with terrorism. President Bush administration opted to put intervention in Iraq with aim that it would serve as a role model to the rest of the region but the mission remains incomplete.
With new regime of President Obama, promotion of democracy abroad seem not to be given a top priority compared to that of Bush administration and take different approach. However, for U. S to succeed in promotion of democracy abroad there need to be a stock taking so that it can learn from past failures and make wise strategies that would be more successful as it rebuild its reputation. Therefore, there is need for the U. S to continue promoting democracy abroad not only for it its own interests such as security purposes but also in order to promote human rights that have been violated in those autocratic countries.
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