False choices: Dictatorship or the Criminally Negligent

I saw another interesting article at foreignaffairs today that echoes the same old debate about democracy vs. authoritarain regimes.

I wonder if they will ever get it.

Thanks for this interesting debate.

I am sorry to say that I think that all sides in this debate are wrong. A completely new understanding of the social contract and economics is begging to appear in this day and age … our age.

The common pattern you will continually see in these debates is this tendency to argue on two extremes, both of which are obvioulsy inadequate, and which therefore hints that something different is needed.

They wrote:

“In both world wars, the nondemocratic capitalist great powers performed great feats and initially won shattering victories. On the other side, the democracies repeatedly blundered: they were dangerously late in rising to the challenge; their armed forces, particularly during the 1930s, were ill prepared; their initial defeats were potentially catastrophic; and their conduct thereafter was not free of serious errors.”

And, as for the nondemocratic actors, let’s not forget, they killed many, many thousands of Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. But most importantly for this conversation, and perhaps for reasons related to this, none of these regimes have shown much durability. Clearly, this is not the answer.

“Deudney and Ikenberry suggest that China’s admission into the institutions of the liberal international order established after World War II and the Cold War will oblige the country to transform and conform to that order. But large players are unlikely to accept the existing order as it is, and their entrance into the system is as likely to change it as to change them.”

Both will occur, imo. Again, this alludes to a deeper historical process afoot.

“Critics argue that unlike liberalism, nondemocratic capitalist systems have no universal message to offer the world, nothing attractive to sell that people can aspire to, and hence no “soft power” for winning over hearts and minds. But there is a flip side to the universalist coin: many find liberal universalism dogmatic, intrusive, and even oppressive. Resistance to the unipolar world is a reaction not just to the power of the United States but also to the dominance of human rights liberalism. There is a deep and widespread resentment in non-Western societies of being lectured to by the West and of the need to justify themselves according to the standards of a hegemonic liberal morality that preaches individualism to societies that value community as a greater good.”

Again, two sides of a counterfeit coin that history has proven worthless. These are but a handful of historical examples, but they number in the hundreds. It should be obvious by now. Neither neo-liberal western democracy or authoritarian regimes work. Nothing tried so far works. A totally new, original set of theory is required now.

“Both liberals and their critics often forget that the problem of small size and its implications for the security of “republics” — as free societies were known in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries — was a central topic of early modern political thought. Prior to the founding of the United States, it was universally believed that republics could only be small and hence were destined to be chronically insecure. The United States was seen as a decisive breakthrough because its innovative federal union allowed political freedom to exist in a large country to an extent never before thought possible.”

This was the result of technological innovation and change, not federalism alone.

How long will it take for these people to realize that every ‘ism’ tried has failed miserably? Its time for a bottom-up rebuild.

– kk

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 44th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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