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Old Monday, February 10, 2020
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Default Essay: Future of Democracy int the Global World

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Essay: Future of Democracy in the Global World

The current landscape of global politics
The rise of populism: Democracy’s vital signs are instable
• Putin The Great: Russia’s imperial impostor
• Xi Jinping: An totalitarian in the making
• Recep Tayyep Erdogan: The rise of Turkey’s Islamist shape-shifter
• Narendra Modi: India’s democratically elected despot
• Donald Trump: A madman in the white house
Erosion of democratic norms: A crystal ball for future
• Elections
• Freedom of expression
• Rights of migrants
• Ethnic cleansing
• Term limits for executives
• Safety of expats
Democracy in Pakistan: A flickering light at the end of the tunnel
Global democracy in retreat but is there a silver lining somewhere amid all the pessimism?

We have frequently printed the word Democracy. Yet I cannot too often repeat that it is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawaken’d, notwithstanding the resonance and the many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come, from pen or tongue. It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted.
Walt Whitman – Democratic vistas

As Benjamin Franklin walked out of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a woman asked him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Two and a quarter centuries on, not much has changed. Centralization of power in the executive, politicization of the judiciary, attacks on independent media, the use of public office for private gain—the signs of democratic regression are on the rise. The only surprising thing is where they’ve turned up. Even United States, which oft champions democracy as their proud progeny to the world, is displaying signs of erosion of democracy. The age of Trump is a haunting nightmare to the proponents of democracy. Elsewhere, authoritarian xenophobic populist movements have grown strong enough to threaten democracy’s long-term health in several rich, established democracies, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Such trends portrays the grim reality of how democracy is on the back foot. However, some countries like Malaysia and Ethiopia have taken great strides towards democratisation which is a testament to the enduring appeal of democracy. The good news is that ever since representative democracy first emerged, it has been spreading, pushed forward by the forces of modernization. The pattern has been one of advances followed by setbacks, but the net result has been an increasing number of democracies, from a bare handful in the nineteenth century to about 90 today. The bad news is that the world is experiencing the most severe democratic setback since the rise of fascism in the 1930s.

The current landscape of global politics could easily be defined by the leaders who take the center stage with their fiery oration and firebrand rhetoric. Thus, conveniently, their policies and decisions shape the world politics. It shall not then come as a surprise that the current world politics is increasingly moving towards nationalistic strains, where inclusiveness is relegated to the back corners. Walls are being built, international treaties are being disparaged, and Bexit is a reverberating echo of the time. Space for freedom of expression is consistently shrinking and journalists are threatened and silenced. Dissent is crushed with strong-arm tactics. Those who govern have become increasingly remote, making democracy in practice a puppet show, a spectacle in which the hidden elite pulls all the strings. But democracy amazingly enough survives – as an article of faith or a figment of modern imagination. In a striking contrast to the low regard in which the modern was held throughout most of the rest of the recorded history, virtually every existing political regime today claims to embody some form of democracy. Vladimir Putin and his supporters has declared Russia to be a “sovereign democracy” and North Korea calls itself a “Democratic People’s Republic”.

However, democracy in name would not make the cut. For democracy to flourish, it is essential that its commandments are followed and applied in the public sphere. To the dismay of many, that has not materialized yet. The specter of populism is hovering above the world and the leading figures on the world stage today practice a brutal, smash-mouth politics, a personalized authoritarianism. Old-school strongmen, they do whatever is necessary to hold on to power. Vladimir Putin sees himself as a latter-day Peter the Great. He fetishizes strength, dreams of restoring imperial grandeur, and rules by the old tsarist doctrine of “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality”. He has become the longest serving leader of Russia since Joseph Stalin. His unilateral action towards annexation of Crimea reflects his imperial vision. On the other end of the spectrum, there is China’s Xi Jinpeng who is driven by paternal hero worship and devotion to the Chinese Communist Party. Having concluded that the party’s rule was under growing threat, he has devoted his time in office to restoring its dominance. He is constantly locking horns with US as being witnessed in the trade war, but the most prominent feature of his rule is the brutal censorship of social media and internet. Additionally, the plight of Uighur Muslims is no more hidden from the world.

In the same vein, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is harder to pin down. A fiery Islamist turned reformer turned populist authoritarian, he has become the country’s longest-serving and most significant leader since Ataturk. He is polarizing and popular, autocratic and fatherly, calculating and listless. It has taken him sixteen years to forge what he calls as “the new Turkey,” an economically self-reliant country with marginalized opposition and a subservient press. Systematic failings in the Turkish democracy has ruptured the revered institutions. Majoritarianism increasingly defines domestic politics and the erosion of democratic norms is on the rise. These blatant attacks on democracy seems insignificant in comparison with Narendra Modi’s actions. India’s democratically elected Prime Minister is a nightmare for around two hundred millon Muslims of India who are casted as pariahs by his policies. He had scrapped the autonomy of Kashmir and has virtually laid a siege to the entire population of Kashmir. His fascist ideology of Hindu Nationalism has shaken the very basis of India’s secular image. Next in line is Trump, who is the President of US that often enough and rightly so champions the cause of democracy but he has threatened the US democracy by his hate-filled vitriolic against immigrants and expats alike. His white supremacist tilt is apparent from his policy decisions.

The truth is that democracy needs defending, and as traditional champions like the United States stumble, core democratic norms meant to ensure peace, prosperity, and freedom for all people are under serious threat around the world. For example, elections are being hollowed out as autocracies find ways to control their results while sustaining a veneer of competitive balloting. Polls in which the outcome is shaped by coercion, fraud, gerrymandering, or other manipulation are increasingly common. In a related phenomenon, the principle of term limits for executives, which have a long provenance in democracies but spread around the world after the end of the Cold War, is weakening. Freedom of expression has come under sustained attack, through both assaults on the press and encroachments on the speech rights of ordinary citizens. Flagrant violations like imprisonment of journalist is a grave danger to the very core of democratic ideals. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a testament to this very fact. Another norm under siege is protection of the rights of migrants and refugees, including the rights to due process, to freedom from discrimination, and to seek asylum. All countries have the legitimate authority to regulate migration, but they must do so in line with international human rights standards and without violating the fundamental principles of justice provided by their own laws and constitutions. In addition to mistreating those who arrive in their territory in search of work or protection, a growing number of governments are reaching beyond their borders to target expatriates, exiles, and diasporas. Political dissidents are targeted abroad with practices such as harassment, extradition requests, kidnappings, and even assassinations.

Nevertheless, democracy in the context of Pakistan can be seen as a flickering light at the end of the tunnel. The country has gone through a second democratic transition and institutions are building up capacity to tackle the issues that they are tasked with. Democracy cannot overnight provide a solution to all the problems but it could be a panacea for all the ills in the long run. Given the dysfunctional history of the country and the onslaught of dictatorships in the past, it is a welcome development that the democracy is sustaining its life and is no longer on a respirator.

Amongst all the chaos that is jolting the bedrocks democracy in the global world, it is still a far cry from saying that democracy will die sooner. Despite the grim global environment, positive breakthroughs in countries scattered all over the world shows that the universal promise of democracy still holds power. In Malaysia, for instance, voters threw out disgraced prime minister Najib Razak and a political coalition that had governed since independence, clearing the way for a new government that quickly took steps to hold Najib and his family to account for a massive corruption scandal. Similarly, In Ethiopia, the monopolistic ruling party began to loosen its grip in response to three years of protests, installing a reform-minded prime minister who oversaw the lifting of a state of emergency, the release of political prisoners, and the creation of space for more public discussion of political issues. While some progress has come in the form of sudden breakthroughs at the leadership level, more incremental societal change offers another reason for hope.

In conclusion, it would be fair to say that the current state of global democracy is topsy-turvy but the universal charm of democracy still holds its fascination. From a pessimistic outlook, the future of global democracy would seem to be on the brink of collapse, but an optimistic lens would prophesy otherwise. In a world marred by violent conflicts, disease-ridden starved areas, and brutal proxies, being optimistic seems hardly a rational choice but nevertheless it is what is needed. Let’s be optimistic and hope that the future of the world would be one where democracy and rule of law reigns.
"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
- Napoleon Bonaparte
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Old Sunday, November 22, 2020
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Brother, I want you to make an outline on: Challenges and prospects for democracy in the world order or Is there any future of democracy?
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Old Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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A little scattered outline. Make it compact and use less of explanations.
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Old Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Thanks for a sample essay
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
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