The Illusion of Democracy

Written by Loloa Ibrahim

Continued from page 1

Elsewhere in Our Troubled World

In Pakistan UN envoys are sent to monitor elections. But atrepparttar verge of losing, President Musharraf orders to haverepparttar 126037 investigations stopped and, not long after, declares himselfrepparttar 126038 winner.

In Bangladesh,repparttar 126039 government decides to send out an army to stamp outrepparttar 126040 increasing crime inrepparttar 126041 country. Their targets: not criminals, but opposition leaders. The country’s crackdown on crime is accused of being nothing more than a form of state terrorism directed at political parties.

As for our friends,repparttar 126042 Germans, their Prime minister, Gerhard Schroeder wins an election after one of his ministers artlessly compares George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler. Is itrepparttar 126043 tactless comparison that is more shocking here, orrepparttar 126044 extremity ofrepparttar 126045 measures taken by politicians to appeal to their otherwise disenchanted populations?

All aroundrepparttar 126046 world, voter turnouts are decreasing, as is trust in government—except of course in Iraq, where Saddam and his lovable thugs are able to tactically coerce people to vote by stamping their blood on ballots. But Iraq’s kingdom-come aside, recent trends bring about great speculation aboutrepparttar 126047 ‘Third Wave’ and how prepared countries are for democracy.

In that respect it seems as ifrepparttar 126048 West is willing to sacrifice quality for quantity. The more countries convert to democracy,repparttar 126049 more its proponents can boast of its promise, andrepparttar 126050 easier it is to access and do business with these countries. Few will admit thatrepparttar 126051 majority of these ‘Third-Wavers’; these newly democratized nations are anything but democratic.

Closer to Home

It seems as ifrepparttar 126052 world of politics is completely devoid of trust if evenrepparttar 126053 world’s most successful democracy,repparttar 126054 good old United States, is having its share of troubles.

Inrepparttar 126055 shadow ofrepparttar 126056 United State's chaotic presidential elections of 2000, Russia's Communist party made a sarcastic offer to send election monitors to Palm Beach to help with Florida’s troubled mid-term elections. The same joke was voiced byrepparttar 126057 Albanians and by none other than Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. However, what was once a joke has now become a reality. America has acceptedrepparttar 126058 offer.

The first delegation of poll monitors ever assigned to analyze an American election arrives inrepparttar 126059 United States and among its staff are Russian and Albanian representatives.

Their goal is to evaluate whether or not Florida’s mid-term elections meet international democratic standards.

This same team of ‘democracy-police’ have previously monitoredrepparttar 126060 French elections, and nowrepparttar 126061 United States, after which they will pay Turkey a little disciplinary visit.

Some would say this event is justice for all countries that have been lectured by Washington inrepparttar 126062 past about their electoral processes.

Others would say maybe we could all learn a thing or two from Mugabe and Saddam’s perfectly silenced masses.

The Reality

No corner ofrepparttar 126063 earth is without a democracy in distress.

Those of us who are lead to believe thatrepparttar 126064 world is rapidly reverting to democracy have been deceived. Most of these new democracies are haunted with previous histories of communism or civil war and marred by poverty and social inequality. Under these conditions,repparttar 126065 transition to democracy is quite impossible. Inasmuch as there are institutions promoting democracy all overrepparttar 126066 world, there are few that promoterepparttar 126067 economic and social stability that makes democracy possible.

Why are they telling us thatrepparttar 126068 stage has been set for democracy when all aroundrepparttar 126069 world less people are inclined to vote and more people are distrustful of their leaders? This year certainly speaks for itself. Acrossrepparttar 126070 globe, elections have proven to be nothing more than theatrical—Saddam’s one hundred percent vote; Serbia’s no-shows; Mugabe’s self-imposed landslide victory.

As forrepparttar 126071 third wave—maybe, just maybe somewhere beneathrepparttar 126072 ocean of falsities,repparttar 126073 real wave is brewing.

Loloa Ibrahim : BA in Government and International Politics from George Mason University. Member of the American Political Science Association and The International Women’s Writers Guild. Recognized for several academic honors. Currently works for the Department of Human Services in VA. Teaches English and adult literacy at the Center for Multicultural Human Services.

Stop a War

Written by Ed Howes

Continued from page 1

Questions are then raised concerning future events. Let's look at a likely scenario. We know when al Qaeda has chosen a target in America, they persist until it is destroyed. World Trade Center 1993 and 2001. The national capitol 2001 and ? Security has tightened sufficiently sorepparttar next attack onrepparttar 126036 capitol will be different thanrepparttar 126037 last, as withrepparttar 126038 Trade Center.

The report on Now demonstrates a close relationship between Pakistan and al Qaeda. Pakistan has growing nuclear capability and it is reasonable to assume al Qaeda has proved itself worthy to share in this capability. While it may be a bit more difficult to move nuclear devices within striking distance ofrepparttar 126039 capitol, it is far from impossible. Any number of nuclear weapons could be brought in with regular drug shipments, made possible byrepparttar 126040 great war on drugs fraud.

The lesson of Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho was to fearrepparttar 126041 government's ability to make war onrepparttar 126042 people. The lesson of Oklahoma City and September 11, is that government can’t or won't protectrepparttar 126043 people or itself. Fear increases all around and affects every aspect of American life. That fear not only allows an expansion of government and government power, it demandsrepparttar 126044 increase as national security.

The escape of 8,000 al Qaeda in 2001 does nothing to increase security anywhere. Anythingrepparttar 126045 President has said about national security since November, 2001 is suspect. There is no doubt national government is growing like a cancer. Yet, if al Qaeda succeeds in destroyingrepparttar 126046 capitol, especially a nuclear destruction, would any American see it as a successful radiation treatment? Can surviving America rest easier becauserepparttar 126047 capitol wasrepparttar 126048 target and notrepparttar 126049 rest of us? Will Congress deserve such a fate because it did nothing whenrepparttar 126050 President substantially decreasedrepparttar 126051 entire national security?

As I write this, I have heard reports that U.S. forces are closing in on al Qaeda nearrepparttar 126052 Pakistani border. Will they capture or killrepparttar 126053 8,000 freed in November, 2001? Or will most of them slip away with Pakistani assistance? The answer to this question should tell us much aboutrepparttar 126054 so called war on terrorism. Personally, I expect it to be business as usual and hope I am wrong.

To add some balance to all this, I want to point out that we could considerrepparttar 126055 escape of November, 2001 a case of a Christian President loving his enemies, asrepparttar 126056 Bible instructs. Could we be witnessingrepparttar 126057 beginnings of New Age warfare here? Will there be any gratitude amongrepparttar 126058 8,000 who were and are ready to die for their beliefs? Will they be satisfied withrepparttar 126059 destruction of their next primary target? Or will they continue until America is one ofrepparttar 126060 least powerful nations inrepparttar 126061 world? Would that be a bad thing? Could it be necessary to world peace? Fear or not, these are truly exciting times.

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