What is the state of democracy around the world (and why?)

With the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1991, countries previously included in the Union started forming their own independent states; many of them, forming into democracies. Moreover, many countries which were not geographically involved with the Soviet Union finally found the liberty to focus on their own problems, rather than trying to oppose the UUSR. These changes gave a huge boost to the democratization of the world, effectively creating a higher number of democratic states. This was thought to be “a natural trend, due to a general law of social progress” (Huntington, 17), considering that the natural development of a society eventually brings it to democracy. Current results show it does not.

Even though years passed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and previously-dominated countries had their opportunity to develop stable democracies, the world is not uniformly democratic. Rather, the state of the world currently entails a standoff between the highly democratic west, and the vastly authoritarian east. Two powerhouses currently dominate the world with their economic development and integral roles in world politics: Russia and China. Moreover, the Middle East is currently under a power-hungry war, which, at least for now, does not seem to be heading towards democracy. These countries, in turn, show aggression and are willing to use power to broaden their borders, best evident in Russia’s successful attempt at claiming Crimea as its own, receiving minimal backlash from the rest of the political scene. One of the current issues with upholding democracy is the lack of support from other democratic countries. Other than the case of Crimea, Russia has attempted to invade other countries such as Georgia, making their way to the capital, only held back by the presence of representatives from two other countries, who decided to support Georgia in this war. Even though they were unsuccessful one time, there is currently nothing keeping Russia from re-enacting their plot against other nearby countries, effectively widening their horizons.

Considering the current democratic state of the world, unless some drastic changes occur in the world’s political scene, democracy is quite likely to decline even in the countries where it’s already well-established. The natural development of society is most definitely not towards democracy; furthermore, history shows that for the most of our world’s history, the dominating regime has been authoritarian: even now, the two authoritarian powerhouses are ones with ancient history. Democracy is commonly perceived as the correct way of social power-distribution; however, results and evidence speak otherwise, and unless drastic changes are made against the development of authoritarian regimes in the world, democracy is likely to decline.

Works Used:

Samuel, Huntington. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. University of Oklahoma Press.

“Freedom in the World 2015.” Freedom in the World 2015. Accessed October 13, 2015.

Biddle, Jo. “Study Finds Democracy In Decline Around The World.” Business Insider. January 16, 2013. Accessed October 13, 2015.

“Democracy.” – Global Issues. Accessed October 13, 2015.  http://www.globalissues.org/article/761/democracy

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2 thoughts on “What is the state of democracy around the world (and why?)

  1. While I agree democracy is on the decline today, I do not believe this a permanent path towards the majority of nations becoming authoritarian. According to Huntington’s “Wave Theory,” the spread of democracy can be slowed or halted at certain points but there has been no history to date where one style of regime has permanently taken over. During the Cold War,the state of democracy was at a much lower point than it is today. According to Plattner, “By the mid-1970s democracy was at a low point in the developing world. Two of Latin America’s most successful democracies, Uruguay and Chile, had fallen to military coups in 1973, and in 1975 Indira Gandhi proclaimed a state of emergency in India, suspending elections and civil liberties” (Plattner). Not only was the Soviet Union gaining strength but strong democracies such as Uruguay and Chile, as well as one of the world’s largest countries, India, all were taken over by authoritarian powers. But, this countries were poorly structured and were doomed to failure which eventually brought about the third wave of democracy. Just as weak countries fail at becoming democratic (Arab Spring), weak countries can fail to become authoritarian (Chile, Uruguay, India). Personally I believe we will continue to see waves of democracy and authoritarian regimes or another possibility have a few large world-powers on each side of the spectrum with numerous countries becoming stagnate on forming a successful democracy or authoritarian regime.

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