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.