Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chávez's "direct democracy" and Russia's "directed democracy"

The backlash against democracy promotion is largely a by-product of the proliferation of so-called hybrid regimes in the aftermath of democracy's third wave. The legal and extralegal measures adopted by regimes determined to stymie democracy assistance range from constraints to cooptation, from coercion to closure. The overall response must come at three distinct levels—the tactical, the political, and the normative...
A potent threat to freedom is posed by the rise of democracy's "doubles"—regimes that claim to be democratic and may look like democracies, but which rule like autocracies. Liberal democracy today is challenged on one side by Hugo Chávez's revolutionary Venezuela and on the other by Vladimir Putin's antirevolutionary Russia. The rise of Chávez's "direct democracy" and Russia's "directed democracy" poses a clear challenge to the political pluralism that is central to liberal democracy. The populist leader and the political technologist are the twin embodiments of the major threat to liberal democracy today...
As we approach the fifteenth anniversary of the demise of the Soviet Union, its sudden collapse remains mysterious. At the time, virtually no Western experts, Soviet or foreign officials, or even Soviet reformers foresaw the impending collapse of the system of one-party dictatorship, state ownership of the economy, and Kremlin control over its domestic and East European empires. Structuralism alone does not provide a satisfactory account of the chain of events. One must also consider the central role of intentionalism—that is, individuals inspired by ideas, which they impart to others—in the inception and course of the change. One such individual was the "godfather of glasnost" Aleksandr Yakovlev. Journal of Democracy Volume 17, Number 2, April 2006

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