Xinhua Commentary: Forced democracy does not work

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by Xinhua writer Guo Yage

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States has long been fabricating a myth that it stands as a "beacon of democracy" for the world, that it is trusted with a "sacred mission" to democratize everyone else in the American way, and that its style of democracy will prevail for the eons ahead.

In Washington's self-centered worldview, a democratic world should be underpinned by America's global supremacy. Thus, in the name of promoting democratic values, the United States has over the decades taken many parts of the world as its overseas testing grounds. However, Washington's reckless interference, be it blunt military intrusions or covert subversions, has kicked countries in the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe into wars and strife, and left them with destructions and deaths.

Still, these man-made catastrophes seem to have hardly prevented the arrogant minds in Washington from persisting in their democratic experiments and pursuit of global domination. The upcoming so-called "Summit for Democracy" offers a clue that the United States is willing to go even further. It is, nevertheless, set to turn out a botched attempt.

Primarily, the American-style democracy is anti-democratic. In nature, the American culture is a culture of piracy that advocates pillage and conquest, not equality, freedom or human rights. Many of America's founding fathers were slave-owners themselves. And almost a century after its founding, the United States still acquiesced in slavery, and forbade women or African Americans to vote.

Today, the American democracy is more of a plutocracy, with a government hardly of, by or for the people. As U.S. political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote early this year, the government in Washington is "captured by powerful elite groups that distort policy to their own benefit and undermine the legitimacy of the regime as a whole."

America's undemocratic colors have become increasingly evident on the world stage in recent years. As the world's sole superpower, it flexes its muscles wherever possible; it bullies others whenever it sees fit, and it seeks to dictate the world's rules of the road as a matter of course. In fact, imposing its own set of values and systems on others irrespective of cultural differences or actual situation on the ground is tantamount to an autocracy.

Washington's democracy push will go under also because it simply takes democracy as a geopolitical instrument for its self-interests. In the eyes of some American decision-makers, democracy can always be expedient whenever necessary.

Examples abound in history when Washington colluded with what they called dictatorships or even terrorist groups to confront its adversaries, like its reported assistance for Osama bin Laden and his extremist groups in a bid to counter the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the Cold War.

The so-called "Summit for Democracy" is one of Washington's latest moves to play small-clique politics along the ideological demarcation and under the cloak of democracy. However, inviting Taiwan to the summit has unmistakably exposed Washington's sinister intention to suppress and split China.

More fundamentally, American democracy is never universally applicable. All roads lead to democracy. Every nation is entitled to choose its own path towards democracy. In other words, for a democracy to be viable and resilient, it needs to draw its strength from a country's own culture and history.

The economic and social realities in a nation should also be taken into consideration. This is a major reason why more than 20 years of nation-building in Afghanistan crashed to the ground in a matter of weeks. A copycat of the American-style democracy did not have the local conditions to sustain.

While Washington continues to sell its democratic ideas, the good news is that people around the world are sobering up. A Pew Research said in November that 83 percent of their interviewees believe the American democracy is not a good example for other nations, a view largely shared by Americans themselves.

Exceptionalism is disastrous for both the United States and the rest of the world. Such a misguided notion will bury the common sense in the American politics and fuel Washington's crazy binge to reshape the world in its own image. As The Wall Street Journal said recently, "democracies are stable and effective when they are grounded in tradition and national cultures, not when they are pressured to adhere to a uniform global standard."

U.S. political scientist Samuel P. Huntington realized as early as 1996 that "the belief that non-Western peoples should adopt Western values, institutions, and culture is, if taken seriously, immoral in its implications."

It is time for the United States to step back, take a deep breath and do a serious reflection. If Washington truly wants to hold onto its democratic values, perhaps it is best to leave other countries alone and let them decide for their own. Enditem

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