This video does a good job of laying out how ridiculous the “Democracy is Dying!!!” story is. But what it doesn’t do is lay out why the story gets so much play. The sad fact is that it’s useful to powerful people in the United States. Once again, it all comes back to the US military industrial complex. The wise men of the Pentagon have realized that “Terrorism” is losing its power as a motivating factor. Despite the best efforts of Trump & Co. it’s obvious that general white loser angst has had a much higher body count in the US over the past decade than “Radical Islamic Terrorism”. So we need something else to be scared of to justify our absurd military budgets. That’s why this narrative gets so much play.
The idea is that if “Democracy is Dying”, the world really is “more dangerous than it ever has been” as the Pentagon keeps telling us. I may do a video on this in the coming weeks… I’d be interested to know how much relevance this story has beyond the national security nerd twitter bubbles I frequent. In those circles this “Democracy is Dying” story has become the conventional wisdom. Is that the sense you get where you are at as well? Let me know in the comments.
Video Transcript after the jump…
OMG you guys! Democracy is dying! Nationalism is surging in the United States and Europe! And have you heard about Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungary’s Viktor Orban! They’re the worst! And China has gotten rich without getting democratic It’s all all over.What can the freedom loving US government do to fix this horrible situation!
Well it probably won’t surprise you to hear that what I would like is for the US government to do less. We have been hearing the story I just presented everywhere. The problem is that this story isn’t true. Like at all. Democracy is Doing Just fine.
What we’re dealing with here is a sort of Myopia. We are only looking at the stuff that’s close to the United States, and ignoring everything else. Our traditional allies in Europe are getting more screwed up lately. But were not looking at the reason why.
The reason is US policy. Let’s take apart that standard story to show what I am talking about. China is a very special case, and I did a video on that recently that you can check out at this link or in the description. The answer for most of the rest of this stuff… is US policy. Erdogan of Turkey always had some troubling instincts, but between 2013 and today things have gotten a lot worse. What was it that gave him a free hand? The US manufactured war in Syria of course! I have a video on that as well.
With the corrupt and anti-democratic Viktor Orban of Hungary the story is the same. Orban became prime minister again in 2010 due to the fallout from the financial crisis we cooked up in the United States. His party won another election in 2014 but his appeal was clearly fading. What saved him? The refugee crisis caused by US policy in Syria of course. Oh and if you think the refugees are Assad’s fault you should probably watch this video…
This Orban story is repeated on a smaller scale with all of Europe’s nationalists. Europe has been souring on US leadership with good reason. US leadership has really sucked since 2001. And I think, to a smaller degree, the massive 17 year failure of US policy in the Middle East had a lot to do with Trump’s election in 2016 as well.
I don’t like any of these candidates, but there is nothing about democracy that guarantees that people you like will win. If Washington DC wants friendlier people to be elected, then maybe Washington DC should stop doing stupid stuff. These guys are awful, but the US government has a lot to do with why they keep winning elections.
And in the parts of the world that the US hasn’t been actively screwing up, Democracy has been doing really really well. In February of this year, Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa was kicked out for corruption after 9 years in power. In November of 2017 the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was kicked out after 37 years in power. There are plenty of other examples from recent years I could go into, from Sri Lanka to Bulgaria, but we saw two great examples just this past month. In Armenia, a president who had governed for 10 years tried to install himself as prime minister. Protests forced him out, and then protests forced the parliament to install a protest leader as prime minister.
In Malaysia, the fantastically corrupt ruling party was voted out of office for the first time in over half a century. This is the first peaceful transfer of power since independence. The country now has an extraordinary opportunity to reshape itself.
Now I am not saying any of these countries are in great shape. Far from it. Decades of misrule, continuing corruption, and unrealistic expectations on the part of all these countries peoples are likely to lead to some disappointment. But that’s democracy. Its messy, and disappointment is inevitable. It’s frustrating, but its a better system than anything else we have come up with. More and more people are getting the chance to learn that lesson for themselves. And that’s a great thing. Democracy is doing just fine.