Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Is America a Failed Democracy?

While talking about failed states and failed democracies, Western academics often leave an impression as if such phenomena could exist only outside their region. “Indeed, from Uganda to Rwanda, Africa is now paralyzed by the rise of a new, but not necessarily better, form of government – failed democracy,” writes Joshua Kurlantzick in Boston Globe, November 2008. He goes on to define failed democracy as a form of government “in which a country holds elections but does not develop other institutions.”

It's a very good observation that some countries may be carrying out the drill of elections without getting substantial benefit out of it but Kurlantzick seems to have restricted his area of inquiry to African states. Otherwise he might have noticed that failure to “develop other institutions” is not the only kind of failure known to democracies. Surprising as it may be, the United States of America would appear to be the prime candidate for failed democracy if a study barred no holds.

Such a study is unlikely to come from the academics, and perhaps it would be better if general public drew their own conclusions from otherwise well-acclaimed researches. For instance, The Israel Lobby (2007) by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. The book, actually based on a paper published by the same professors earlier in London Review of Books, suggested very emphatically that the electoral process in the US was dominated by a lobby promoting the inetersts of Israel at the cost of American interests, and even at the cost of American lives. No president could come to power without getting endorsed by this lobby, nor stay in power without its blessings.

Reworded more tersely, it would appear that although the US President is duly elected, yet in actual fact he is an "appointed" Viceroy of Israel ruling over the American nation in the interest of the foreign country.

If this is true (and the people of America would know that better), then the necessary conclusion would be that America is a democracy only in name. In real fact, it is a failed democracy. Is it?


  1. Interesting observations. I have been hearing a lot about failed state and failed democracy but still confused either both are the same or they mean failure of two different notions? Secondly our we seeing democracy as a electoral process or an acceptance process/consensus?

  2. AOA.sir i want to ask that you have divided literature into two catagory i.e sprit of muslim culture and mind of muslim culture showing all positive things while mind of europe saying about negativity.sir dont you think so that this is biasness towards muslim culture only?

  3. OneImageLess, thanks. I guess usually democracy is seen as an electoral process, and this is the pereception which I am questioning. Electoral process was a great discovery of the 18th and 19th centuries, but we seem to have forgotten that it was a stepping stone towards something greater: consensus.

    Hajira, thanks. If we take Iqbal's definition of "the spirit of Muslim culture" then it includes Shakespeare, Goethe and much more from the modern West, not to mention practically all living world religions and their heritage.

  4. hello sir,
    what i would like to add on this is that, its actually not a bias that we do, its the writings that prove their intentions. its true that we're associating the spirit of muslim with positive things such as hope aambitions and dreams to fulfill, but on the other hand, the mind of europe does not take these things as logical and tries to dominate us with their mind. as the categories suggest that th SPIRIT of Muslim culture and the MIND of Europe. both of them are different in perceiving things... one goes on logic whereas one tends to believe on Human Feelings and Emotions... That's all.