Its time to celebrate democratic governance in a war-ridden world 

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News: In the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the West is trying to shape a global consensus in favour its democratic governance model.

This is leading to widening the divide between authoritarian and democratic regimes.  

What have been the arguments against the democratic governance model? 

In last few years, the Chinese and Russian models of governance were promoted to challenge the democratic models of political management that is practiced in the west. These were projected based on the performance registered by both the models in various fields. 

The Chinese mode was more efficient. It delivered high rates of economic growth. It also looked stable. It looked highly attractive as the Western democracies were failing to provide solutions to the myriad problems faced by them in different areas.  

The western democracies were seen as chaotic and unable to shape long-term strategic goals. They were facing competing domestic demands within the group of the western nations. 

In response to Biden’s Summit for Democracy in December 2021, China and Russia together decried the summit as “anti-democratic“. It decried the western model of democracy. China asserted that ‘true democracy’ exists in China under the Chinese Communist Party. 

Such a narrative was developed, because as per Chinese propagandists, the confidence in their own model gives legitimacy to China’s rise as a legitimate power in the international hierarchy. 

Why is the democratic governance model better than the Chinese and Russian Model of governance? 

At present, China is being publicly criticized for its covid management.

For example, China has for the first time officially admitted that three people have died in Shanghai due to covid. Historically, this is the first acknowledgment of any death in the country since March 2020. The authorities are being criticized publicly by the residents of Shanghai city 

At present, Russia is being globally criticized. It has not been able to achieve success in Ukraine, and is facing operational and tactical costs, and also a wider strategic failure. 

The Western democracies have been able to rise to the challenge posed by Russia. They have been able to form a relatively united front as a push-back against Russian aggression.  

China’s ‘zero covid’ strategy doesn’t look that brilliant any more. The Chinese model has been exposed by the anger shown by Shanghai’s residents. 

A democratic country like India managed to contain covid relatively effectively. It was also able to mobilize the requisite national resolve to produce vaccines for the world. 

Democracies are good at self-flagellation (excessive criticism of oneself). Their self-critical approach makes them strive to do better.  

Way Forward 

There is a danger that autocracies will succeed in shaping the global narrative in their favour.

However, this is a moment that democracies of the world may unite against a single threat. They should make a loud and clear voice that there is no real alternative to democracy. 

Source: The post is based on an article “It’s time to celebrate democratic governance in a war-ridden world” published in the Live Mint on 21st April 2022. 

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