The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 were high points for democracy world-wide. In 1992 Francis Fukuyama even proclaimed “The End of History.”
But in the meantime China has grown much stronger and a declining Russia is stirring up trouble by throwing its weight around. It is very important for the U.S. to stand up to threats from these and other autocratic regimes around the world. In doing so we have many strengths.
Some experts say that nevertheless democracy is in decline. But consider:
- Hong Kong has been in heavy revolt for many weeks. It was promised many freedoms by China for 50 years when it separated from Great Britain in 1997. The whole world is watching closely and China will suffer great international damage if it cracks down on Hong Kong with military force.
- As many as 60,000 Moscow residents have been demonstrating for several weeks against the Russian government’s attempt to dictate who can or can’t be a candidate for municipal office. Many Russian people clearly want a truer form of democracy than they have at the present time.
- The power of autocratic Premier Recep Erdogan was successfully challenged by the new mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu. This could push Mr. Erdogan to implement political and economic reforms in this crucial NATO member.
- Premiers Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have destroyed the Venezuelan economy with their corrupt socialistic policies and millions of residents have fled to nearby countries. The U.S. is attempting to force democratic change by putting sanctions on the international sale of Venezuelan oil.
Summary. The development and widespread implementation of democracy around the world since the end of WWII is a hugely positive sign of human progress. This deep human longing for freedom continues to manifest itself. No country, no matter how autocratic or corrupt, is immune from its force. This bodes very well for the future of free society.