Strongman rule era comes to an end
October 21, 2011
By Global Times
News that former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been killed sent ripple effects worldwide. His death is generally perceived as the end of strongman rule in the Middle East.
From Saddam to Mubarak, and now Gaddafi, all were soldiers who became long-time rulers, their destinies will precipitate power shifts in the wider region.
Democracy will be further regarded as the general trend accepted by various regimes. Meanwhile, the deficiencies and side effects of democracy, and the difficult course of restructuring, have been seen in the democratization process throughout the Middle East.
The worship of democracy is retreating worldwide, as it has been replaced by a reflection of the system.
Dissatisfaction and doubt over various political systems is spreading, which has been compounded by the economic recession in many countries along with the impact of globalization. The public, in both developed and emerging countries, has shown a low tolerance for the flaws in its system at home.
There are shades of semblance between the Occupy Wall Street movements and the Arab Spring uprisings, something unimaginable even several months ago.
Gaddafi and Mubarak shared similar personal fates. Since the revolution in Egypt, chaos has yet to subside. Will the democratic movement turn to fundamentalism? There have certainly been doubts about its future development.
The recession in the West has been further highlighted by the street protests it is currently witnessing. It will face more challenges as the world's political example. The perfection of the Western system has already shown cracks in some Asian and African countries. Now, more questions will arise.
From the end of the Cold War through the capture of Gaddafi, the evidence that democracy is an inevitable trend is more obvious. But questions linger as to what is the core content of democracy.
Democracy is the opposite of individual authoritarianism. However, democracy is not limited only to the process of a one-person, one-vote system. However, for a long time it was thought of as the only characteristic of a democratic system. But in many countries, this format has generated a mess similar to that generated by authoritarian rule.
The purpose of democracy is to produce real effects; it's not something which hangs there for people to worship. It must facilitate progress of a society.
Democracy has no reason to stop evolving and developing because of its past achievements. It needs to adapt to the reality of different countries, creating new channels between the public and ruling power. Elections themselves are not the only thing democracy has to offer. Governments should be assessed by the services they provide to its people so they can receive the public's approval.
Strongman rule is coming to an end in the Middle East, and throughout the world. Countries will develop their own form of democracy in order to avoid its flaws within its own system, while maximizing the benefits of the democratic system itself.
All of this may usher in a new chapter of government in human history.