Why America Has Not Always Been Successful in ‘Exporting’ Democracy to Other Countries

One of America’s greatest preoccupations is that of ‘exporting democracy’ to other parts of the world. In theory, this is a noble preoccupation: for very few people can reasonably argue against the fact that democracy, when properly implemented, makes for a fairer and happier society. Against that background, then, it comes as a great surprise to learn that America has not always been successful in exporting democracy to other countries. In fact, it can be argued that there are very few countries where America has been successful in exporting democracy (and getting the democracy to be properly implemented). So, why is it that America has not always been successful in exporting democracy to other countries?

In my view, one of the reason as to why America has not always been successful in exporting democracy to other countries lies in the fact that people in those other countries tend to be very suspicious of America’s objectives. There are many who think that America only wants to further its interests, in the name of promoting democracy: the end-game being to install its own puppet leaders, stooges if you will, whom it can remote control from Washington.

There are also people who raise question about America’s capacity to export democracy to other countries in the first place. According to this school of thought, America itself is not a model democracy, and it lacks the moral authority to demand that other nations be democratic. Further hypocrisy is seen when American seems to be supporting tin pot dictators in certain countries, while urging other countries to be democratic!

Even where the people embrace America’s exportation of democracy, the whole idea of democracy tends to run into difficulties: given the fact that wherever America tries to export democracy, it ends up having to face-off with local vested interests. Simply put, in various countries, there tends to be certain powerful people whose interests would be greatly harmed by (full and proper) democratization. These folks tend to put all sorts of obstacles to the democratization process, especially if it happens to be American-led. In the end, if democratization has to happen in such countries, it is usually through a process of compromise. And such compromises in turn make the ordinary people come to the conclusion that America’s attempt at bringing democracy to their nation(s) has not been a success. This is because, due to the compromises that have to be made, very little changes in the lives of ordinary people.

Why I Have Chosen to be a Liberal

Given my background and status in society, most of the people I come across expect me to be a conservative, by default. It therefore tends to come as a great surprise to them to learn that, politically speaking, I am actually a liberal. The question that comes up next (and logically) is one as to why I have chosen to be a liberal, and not a conservative as would be expected by default.

As it turns out, there are several reasons as to why I have chosen to be a liberal.

First is the fact I am a person who believes in social justice. To my mind, the only way in which we can have a fairer society is by being fully committed to the cause of social justice. Yet when you listen to the rhetoric of the conservatives (and when you watch the actions of the conservatives when they happen to be in power), you tend to get convinced that they are folks who don’t believe in the cause of social justice. The conservatives tend to be against social safety nets. The conservatives tend to be against the idea of people being taxed and the tax then being used to fund social programs. Some conservatives even go as far as being against the very idea of there being a minimum wage: callously arguing that wages should be strictly determined by forces of supply and demand… One shudders to imagine what sort of society we would have, if the conservatives had their way unhindered.

Then there is the fact that the liberals are always on the right side of history. Over time, society tends to end up agreeing with the liberals (even when it is initially skeptical about liberal ideals). Take the issue of slavery, for instance: the liberals of that day where mostly in favor of abolition of slavery. The conservatives of that day were mostly against the abolition of slavery. Then take the issue of universal suffrage. The conservative of earlier years were mostly against universal suffrage. The liberals were in favor of it. Today, (pretty much) everyone agrees with the liberals. Then take the issue of racial segregation, the issue of fair labor practices, the issue of social safety nets… you get the drift.

All said and done, I have no doubt in mind that if the conservatives had their way unhindered, and if it was not for the liberals, today we would be living in a very cruel, unjust and unequal society. That is why I have chosen to be a liberal, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all liberal agendas.