THE SYRIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS; DEVOLUTION OF A REVOLUTION.
By Ghassan Kadi. 29 May 2014
If we were to analyze the Syrian presidential election, we should stop and look at the controversy it is creating and the Western propaganda that are downplaying the ev...ent. In doing so, we must feel at liberty to have a closer look at the Western system that puts itself head and shoulders above any other political system in the world.
The West has bamboozled the world with terms such as Free Economy, Democracy, and so go forth, and gave descriptions to other nations that are not on par different descriptions of inferior ranks that go all the way from Second/Third World countries to being part of the “Axis of Evil”.
Western Democracy has not been given the test of universality of application. For it to be a universal model, it must have what it takes to make work under all socio-economic conditions. In reality, it has only been put to the test in nations that have already “reached” the so-called “First World Status”.
For the last two centuries or so, the West did not “need” any major change, an ideological coup to make life better for its people; and hence democracy, revised versions inherited from the Roman or Westminster systems worked fine. For the West that had usurped and plundered other nations, created for itself an economy of abundance, it is easy to pontificate and proclaim that it had found the perfect system, and then to have the audacity to say that the rest of the world must adopt it.
Now here is a question. Is Western style democracy able to make huge changes when such changes are warranted?
To answer this question, we will have to watch Europe and see if Western Democracy is going to be able to deal with the declining economic power of different nations in Europe. For better or for worse, we have already seen a taste of such scenarios in Greece, but this is perhaps the tip of the ice berg.
In saying this, the USA is not far behind. According to some economic analysts, the American economy is far worse than that of Europe and even Greece. It had only been kept afloat by short-term measures such as “financial easing” (ie printing money), measures that will at best push away the fix, only to make it much harder to achieve. In this instance, the Obama administration knows what hole it is digging, but it is only making short-term measures that make it look good and popular.
The bottom line here is that major decisions of governess which imply sacrifices by individuals for the sake of public good are often taken with popular disdain. Many people think about now and today. What is in it for me? How is this new government policy going to affect my business and my family? It is invariably on such individualistic bases that Western voters go to the polls.
This is why in Western democracies, politicians present hope and promise wealth and affluence. This is how they win votes and get elected.
Wars such as WWI and WWII did not last long enough to put Western Democracy under the long-term test of duress, neither did the Great Depression. Citizens of poor nations constantly live under standards that are well below those of the Great Depression.
When President Hafez Assad assumed power after the “Corrective Movement” in 1970 and had this followed by a referendum, Syria had a multitude of huge problems. It needed a total overhaul and gigantic nation-building programs.
If President Assad had to deal with holding on power the Western style, he would have had to either make false promises, or alternatively go to his constituency and say something to this effect:
“Our economy is in ruins, our army needs huge amounts of funds to be modernized and well equipped. We need to implement extremely tough economic measures. Most of you will be worse off for a long time before it gets better. We have to ban imports of all luxury goods. We must dedicate 80% of our budget to the army. Above all, all citizens must understand that their nation is in a state of war, they must fight sectarianism and fundamentalism, unite behind their leader, put their trust in his judgement, re and re-elect him until he gets the job done, and take it as it comes. And by the way, a ban on banana import will also be put in place….sorry, but if you want to eat bananas, you will have to learn how to grow them”.
In reality, these were the challenges that President Hafez Assad had to address, and the longevity of his presidency was the guarantee that the reforms were not to be derailed by some smart jump-up politician who would eventually come and promise the earth just to get himself elected.
In simple terms, Western-style democracy where nation-building is essential does not work, especially when nations are in a state of war like Syria is. After all, Western leaders have two major concerns, how to get elected, and how to get re-elected, and they do this at any cost, just to appease their voters, treating public interest with least concern.
The West will soon find itself in a dilemma in which aspiring politicians are going to find it very hard to get elected, unless they capitalize on rising emotions such as fundamentalism and radicalism. We are in fact witnessing beginnings to such trends in Europe. The Ultra-Right groups, including the Tea Party in the USA are aware of the loophole in the system and are using it to their favour.
If democracy is going to work well, it will have to be based on what is best for the majority, not on cumulative majorities of private agendas. Western democracy has been based on the latter, and its failings were fairly invisible because it ruled during times of economic strength. This is changing, and the West will soon either have to drop the Democracy that it took to the world with B-52’s attached to it, or sit back and allow it (Western Democracy) to turn into a monster that will put extreme radicals in power.
To be continued.