Editor’s note: Mahrukh A. Mughal is a student, M. Phil in International Relations. She writes internationally on political, economic, social and diplomatic issues. Her opinions are her own.
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, speaks during a news conference in Tunis October 30, 2014. Ennahda’s defeat was a blow to the first Islamist party to come to power after the Arab Spring revolts of 2011, and Ghannounchi may have been putting on a brave face after a loss attributed to his party’s performance in government. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
Democracy is one of the most commonly used terms in the political science and is acknowledged as the most modern & politically advanced concept all over the world. However in final conclusion, there is no one universally valid model of democracy. For example democracy in semi-periphery countries cannot be the same as democracy in the core countries. Some people believe that western liberal democracy is a luxury that developing countries cannot afford. Others believe that democratization is viewed as a non-linear dynamic process that can take place under a variety of circumstances.
So the question is whether democracy varies, as least in practice from region to region and from country to country, depending on the historical, cultural, social, economic and other factors.
If we try to trace a link between Democracy, Governance and Development then there arises following Questions. Does Democracy help or hinder development? Is economic development a necessary precondition to have democracy? What other factors besides economic factors can help democracy? Good Governance is necessary for development and democracy or democracy is essential for good governance? Does Democracy ensure good governance? Can democracy and development be separated, whether truly sustainable development is not possible without democracy?
Democracy does not come itself and it cannot be imported from abroad, let alone be implanted by military means. It has to grow from within countries by gradually institutionalizing and constructing political process and spreading the Universal values that are intrinsic to democracy. Values such as respect for diversity and pluralism, tolerance, justice, freedom, human rights and nonviolence are universal core values that are embedded in the rich cultural diversity around the globe.Confusing democracy promotion with regime change, even with the use of military force to remove a regime, may be counterproductive. However when an elected government fails to deliver then it can be declared and targeted as unfriendly regime and friendly tyrants may be treated much more leniently if it has the capability to deliver.
Pakistan is an example; comparison between the military rules and civil government may be made in relation to governance, development and over all betterment of society.
China is a prominent example of huge development in the sphere of economy and a strong military force under the strict leadership of one party communist rule. Champions of western democracy always blame the Chinese regime as anti people, autocrat and anti democracy, however one can see the kind of governance, how Chinese government is brutally curbing corruption in the country across the board.
Now look at the “Arab Spring” which started in Tunisia at the end of 2010 but fully erupted through the Egyptian revolutionary events of Jan & Feb 2011, triggering a set of interrogations not only concerning the role of “New” but also of how to transform into a sustained political mobilization. After the revolutions in the Arab world, not a single is yet plainly on course to become a stable peaceful democracy. A chaotic experiment with democracy in Egypt has failed and Syria is awash with the blood of civil war.
Middle East was not ready to change it has doomed and peoples power have gone into anarchy and a re-imposition of dictator ship. The Middle East would be better off if the Arab Spring had never happened at all. The worst consequences of the Arab Spring in Libya, Syria are dreadful. In 1960 Egypt and South Korea shared similar life expectancy and GDP per head. Today they inhabit different world. Through it may be argued that democratic transitions are often violent and lengthy, however the present scenario after the Arab Spring is dreadful and most Arabs want to turn the clock back. The revolutionary events to some extent demonstrated that the divided Arabs seemed to be turning away from dictatorship. Poll after poll showed that more Egyptians, Jordanians and Moroccans’ believed democracy was the best form of government than did Americans or say poles. But “democracy” in the abstract could mean just about anything as long as it was positive. It was one thing to believe in democracy and quite another to practice it. In Egypt the loss of faith in not just democracy, but in the very nation of politics, was particularly striking. A not insignificant number of Egyptians backed the Military Coup of July 3, 2013, and then turned away from- or, worse, embraced– the mass killing of their countrymen on August 14, 2013. More than 600 were killed in mere hours, a dark blot in the history of the country. Arab Spring had managed to unleash… not just chaos but something darker.
The regions autocrats whether in Tunisia, Syria or Yemen were the ones keeping the peace and ensuring stability. As Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said in a televised address just 10 Days before he was ousted, “The events of the last few days require us all as a people and a leadership to choose between chaos and stability”. In a sense, he and his fellow autocrats were right. These after all were weak states, divided by religion, ideology, sect and clan. Before the uprising, Arab strongmen had governed unwieldy countries with arbitrary borders and uncertain identities. They promised stability at the expense of liberty…
In Arab societies the foundations of state were still very much in doubt, there was basic lack of consensus over the meaning and purpose of the modern nation-state and, the role of religion in political life. The sheer ferocity of this confrontation led a growing numbers of liberals and democrats to embrace the military. General Sissy was seen a charismatic protector and savior of the Egyptian state. And sissy filled the role quite well. In Libya, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia, the fall of a dictator meant a weakened state a gaping power vacuum, which radical Islamist groups such as Libyans austral – sharia, were all too wining to take advantage of. In final words the bitter experiments of Middle East countries has shown that the western model of democracy is not suitable to the specific socio-political and cultural environment of the Arab people. And they have to seek their own political path that would be suitable to their mind.