'The legitimacy of genuine democracy is hijacked via concepts such as "sovereign democracy" in Russia, "people's democracy" in China and "religious democracy" in Iran--all homes to state-controlled mass media, especially via the outlet of television. This report notes that the notion of democracy, in this murky landscape, becomes "a semantic shell for each authoritarian ruler to fill as he pleases." Is this what America now proposes to converge and collaborate with?'
Thank you Claudia Rosett. I meant ages ago to blog about this exact phenomenon. Why does Robert Mugabe bother to have elections, when everybody knows who will win? Why do the Mullahs in Iran bother to have elections, when 70-80% of the candidates are tossed out by the committee tasked with maintaining the islamic revolution before a single ballot is cast? Why does Russia go through the formalities of elections, when Putins party (Russian Home) plus the four other political parties he owns constitute 80% of ALL political activity (the Communists being most of the rest)? You don't have to go very far in history to find a parallel.
Why did Octavian, as Ceasar Augustus, succeed where his uncle Julius Ceasar failed? Because he cloaked his one-man tyranny in as much Republican tradition, ritual, rhetoric and imagery as he could. The few political animals who knew exactly what game was being played exerted little power; and the mass of the plebians couldn't tell Octavians fake Republic from the real deal. They were happy with the bread, circuses and pretty speeches; massive public spending on beautiful impressive buildings and facilities for the delictation of the Roman mob did the rest. Sound familiar?
But as Mark Steyn pointed out about having tyrants as allies, just because he's our bastard he is still a bastard. Mugabe and Chavez and Ahmadinejad have a carapace of respectability bestowed by their 'elections', but that can't mask the disgusting stink of what actually exists within. A tyranny works by benefitting a lucky few, placating the mass, and terrorising the few recalcitrants. And if the mass becomes recalcitrant? You only need to look at Iran in 2009.
Sadly, the number of these fake democracies must be nearly as numerous as the real ones. For every India there's a China, for every Honduras there's a Venezuela. Africa is virtually all fake democracies. Even Britain is veering away from real democracy towards a castrated version: many of the great and good in Britain want the BNP banned. They don't want to ban the one hundred communist parties, interestingly. Apparently, the far left are 'good' murderous scum, while the far right are 'bad' murderous scum.
Personally, I would ban every political party which held as one of its tenets the destruction of democracy. That would get rid all the commie parties, and the islamists and probably most of the far right. Democracy is a game for democrats.
Fake, or 'Chavez', democracy is one man one vote once. That isn't democracy. And that's what he is trying to export to the rest of central and south America. Illigitimate regimes have a strong vested interest in breeding more illigitimate regimes- there's a strange comaraderie amongst criminal regimes which makes them feel safer in their evil deeds. Viz Putin and the Iranians.