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This self-righteousness would have been more tolerable had West actually meant and practiced what it preached, however self-delusionally. Yet, in dozens of cases in last 60 years alone, Western countries intervened, often by force of arms, to reverse and nullify outcomes of perfectly legal and legitimate popular and democratic elections. They did so because of economic and geopolitical interests and they usually installed rabid dictators in place of deposed elected functionaries.
This hypocrisy cost them dearly. Few in poor and developing world believe that United States or any of its allies are out to further causes of democracy, human rights, and global peace. The nations of West have sown cynicism and they are reaping strife and terrorism in return.
Moreover, democracy is far from what it is made out to be. Confronted with history, myth breaks down.
For instance, it is maintained by their chief proponents that democracies are more peaceful than dictatorships. But two most belligerent countries in world are, by a wide margin, Israel and United States (closely followed by United Kingdom). As of late, China is one of most tranquil polities.
Democracies are said to be inherently stable (or to successfully incorporate instability inherent in politics). This, too, is a confabulation. The Weimar Republic gave birth to Adolf Hitler and Italy had almost 50 governments in as many years. The bloodiest civil wars in history erupted in Republican Spain and, seven decades earlier, in United States. Czechoslovakia, USSR, and Yugoslavia imploded upon becoming democratic, having survived intact for more than half a century as tyrannies.
Democracies are said to be conducive to economic growth (indeed, to be a prerequisite to such). But fastest economic growth rates in history go to imperial Rome, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and post-Mao China.
Finally, how represented is vox populi even in established democracies?
In a democracy, people can freely protest and make their opinions known, no doubt. Sometimes, they can even change their representatives (though rate of turnover in US Congress in last two decades is lower than it was in last 20 years of Politburo).
But is this a sufficient incentive (or deterrent)? The members of various elites in Western democracies are mobile - they ceaselessly and facilely hop from one lucrative sinecure to another. Lost elections as a Senator? How about a multi-million dollar book contract, a consultant position with a firm you formerly oversaw or regulated, your own talk show on television, a cushy job in administration?
The truth is that voters are powerless. The rich and mighty take care of their own. Malfeasance carries little risk and rarely any sanction. Western democracies are ossified bastions of self-perpetuating interest groups aided and abetted and legitimized by ritualized spectacle that we call "elections". And don't you think denizens of Africa and Asia and eastern Europe and Middle East are blissfully unaware of this charade.
Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.