Sunday, November 25, 2012

Barack: Democracy Promotion Champion

      Barack loves democracy and promotes it.  He championed democracy promotion. Obama supported to those seeking democracy. He opposed dictators, anti-democracy and military rulers.  Rhetoric was converted into action during presidency. He took this position as an opportunity for democracy promotion. So, he flagged it as the most important agenda of his administration and foreign policy. This he made clear in his inaugural address on January 20, 2009.

     
      President Barack said in his inaugural, “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.  And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken–you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
   
      Dating back to about 500 B.C.E., democracies existed in both Greece and Italy.
The term democracy comes from the Greek words demos, the people, and craits, to rule. Today, democracy is an abstract term that is difficult to define and can have different meanings, depending on the speaker and context. In the most common understanding, democracy generally refers to a political system with certain minimum elements: effective participation by the people (either directly or through representation) under a constitution, respect for human rights, and political equality before the law for both minorities and the majority.

      The lack of a clear definition of democracy and a comprehensive understanding
of its basic elements may have created multiple problems for U.S. policy making, according to some. Arguably, the lack of clear definition has hampered the formulation of democracy promotion policy and effective prioritizing of democracy promotion activities over the years. Also the lack of definition can complicate coordination of democracy programs and the assessment of U.S. government activities and funding. Further, without a consensus on the definition of democracy, what criteria will determine when a country has attained an acceptable level of democratic reform and no longer needs American assistance?

     9/11 attack jolted USA from inside. It was a historical turning point. The effects of the 9/11 attacks have been profound. The attacks had an extensive economic impact for the United States of America. The US government gave New York City US $20 billion as costs for the cleanup and another US $5 billion was given to the families of the victims. In addition to this, the ensuring ‘War on Terror’ has cost the US government approximately $3 trillion as Economist Josepn Stiglitz stated in 2008.
     
     In 2007, the Pew Institute’s Global Attitudes polls showed that the US was viewed unfavourably by majorities in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil, most Western European countries and all Muslim Middle Eastern countries except for Kuwait. This poll alone shows just how much anti-US sentiment exists around the world and a large majority of the negative sentiment stemmed from the US’ reaction to the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
     
      Attack awarded Osama Bin laden public enemy No. 1. Terror and terrorist activities got the highest importance in USA priorities. Overnight counterterrorism became one of the main agenda of the administration. Prior to this, it was not. When U.S. administrations encouraged democratic reform, they have claimed that benefits for the country, its neighbours, the United States, and the world will result. Many experts believe that extending democracy can reduce terrorism while encouraging global political stability and economic prosperity.
     
      President Bush, in his second inaugural address, on January 20, 2005 said “There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom. We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in the entire world. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”
       
       In its 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, the Bush Administration cites democracy promotion as a long-term solution for winning the War on Terror. The ADVANCE Democracy Act of 2007, or, by its more cumbersome title, the Advance Democratic Values, Address Nondemocratic Countries, and Enhance Democracy Act of 2007,was passed in August 2007 as Title XXI of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.
      
       The ADVANCE Act was the culminating moment in a struggle extending back at least three years to institutionalize democracy promotion within the Bush administration.   Nonetheless, in the area of democracy promotion the Bush administration has bequeathed to the Obama administration a legacy worth building upon and extending.
     
       Delivering a speech in UN general assembly on September 25, 2012, President Obama spoke “It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring.  And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change. We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator” 
     
     Barack further said “We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen. We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council. And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.”
      He continues “These are not simply American values or Western values -- they are universal values. I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.”
       So let us remember that this is a season of progress.  For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair. This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world. 
      Over the past year, we’ve seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia.  In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society, a courageous dissident has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform.  Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.
       In recent, on November 17, 2012, US President Barack Obama’s visited to both Thailand and Myanmar went symbolically well. He did all the right things in Thailand and in spite of all the reservations about Obama’s Myanmar visit, he may have sent all the right messages, particularly through the way the visit was orchestrated and his speech at Rangoon University where he talked strongly about inclusiveness. Local news reports in local papers warmly reported the visit. 

        In a briefing for reporters, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the White House sees the Asia Pacific as critical “to the future of the United States, both economically and in terms of our political and security objectives in the world.”  By this visit with Hillary, Barack wanted to accelerate and expedite promotion of democratic reforms in the region. 
         America is a nation composed almost entirely of immigrants. Immigrants began arriving in the Americas since at least 1492 and in what is today the United States since the early 1500s; immigrants continue to arrive five hundred and fifteen years later.
         
         Foreign policy is one yardstick among many to measure the performance of a president. Barack made democracy promotion an integral part and priorities it at top of his foreign policy. He practices it rigorously. As a result, many dictators and military rulers got mixed in dust and penalized. He proved his intention of democracy promotion on ground. Hence, he developed this issue as political product.
        
         He won third debate which was based on foreign policy. USA being an immigrant’s country, his this result-oriented effort made him popular among these voters inside the country. Outside he became liking of people and countries because he developed and sold this political product of democracy promotion. This product of democracy system is liked by mostly worldwide.
         
         Barack utilized presidency as an opportunity to become democracy promotion champion. This he developed as a political product for himself to sell. He sold it in 2012 reelection- in third debate. Obama mustered more esteem worldwide as a real democrat than before presidency. He proved it in practice. His promotional efforts helped him a lot in building election environment all around world in his favor. And finally these democracy promotional efforts brought him flying colors.

Heera Lal (Views are personal and based on different sources)

Ref:
10.                        http://forumonpublicpolicy.com/archivesum07/loupe.pdf