Thursday, July 18, 2013

Making the World Safe for ‘Democracy’

In an interview this morning with France 24, the new Egyptian Minister for Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, corrected the impression given by another member of the government that Egypt was no longer interested in an IMF loan since Saudi Arabia is poneying up $12 billion to ease the economic crisis in that country.  A couple of days ago  another prominent Egyptian, the former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said the same thing in a televised interview. Repeated use of the phrases ‘rule of law’, ‘democracy’, ‘transparency’ etc. echo the American claim that by its enlightened policies (which sometimes, regrettably, involve the use of force), it is making the world more democratic.

Woodrow Wilson famously coined the expression ‘making the world safe for democracy’ to justify American inter-vention in the First World War. The idea behind Liberal Internationalism was that deeper economic ties favor peace by creating a middle class interested in having a voice in governance. A century after the creation of the ill-fated League of Nations, in what could be described as an up-dated version of a fairy tale, force is increasingly being used to create regimes based on that supposition.

Because the capitalist system that accompanies liberal democracy has become more powerful than any government, that process is not about enabling larger groups of citizens to have a voice in the decision-making process, but about the capture of ever larger areas of world economic activity by multi-national corporations and international finance. The masses of people increasingly left without a public voice have realized that they have no other alternative but to take to the streets as part of an effort to create more genuine forms of democracy.








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