Thursday, 21 September 2006

Democracy - Counting the votes or Counting on judges?

Count each vote please

The kind of democracy that the United States espouses is probably not the kind of democracy that many other democratic nations would ascribe to. This is most evident in the turmoil that is about to engulf Mexico.

The Election 2000 dispute between Al Gore and George W. Bush, came down to the difference between counting each vote meticulously and the television networks making extrapolations and projections on a sampling of votes which then lead them to call an election for either party.

When the Mexican Electoral Court approved the counting of just 9% of the votes when a wider range of supposed irregularities were alleged, it was clear that resolving a suffrage through the courts rather that the count would lead to chaos.

Democratic ambivalence

Beyond this, the current American government displays a worrisome ambivalence to democracy; the ones they have supported in Afghanistan and Iraq are verging on failed states, the Palestinians popularly elected a “terrorist” organisation for which they are being punished, then Iran and Venezuela are democracies only that they are governed by anti-American figures.

The most interesting observation however is juxtaposing the American reaction to the recent Thai military coup and failed Venezuelan military coup of 2002.

Though the US has not vehemently defended the democratic cause in Thailand they have expressed their concern as “a very sad development”; this was not the case with Venezuela, they were not quick to condemn the coup and it appears they might have been culpable in the vent too.

The support the US offers to so-called liberation groups to destabilise democracies from within should be cause for concern, I would wonder how America would react if external forces intervened to perfect their not so perfect democracy.

References

Thai leaders ban political action

Foreign Policy In Focus Policy Report: Venezuela’s Failed Coup, the U.S.’ Role, and the Future of Hugo Ch├ívez

The Observer | Special reports | Venezuela coup linked to Bush team

U.S. Goals Are Thwarted At Pro-Democracy Forum

Iran: Tehran Opposes U.S. Pro-Democracy Initiatives

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