Democratic systems are coming undone in terms of responding to changing world equations, especially after the rise of China. The latter operates under an opaque system but is able to quickly make decisions to suit its interests. Democracies get embroiled in semantics and endless arguments. Worse, vital issues are analyzed and torn apart from all angles, without much thought over national interests. No harm, but the world equation has changed with the rise of China & technology; thus giving the process a self-defeating image.
America is mired in politics of division. President Obama is getting bogged down with too many cooks spoiling the broth! By the time vital decisions are made, the equations would have changed! Europe does not play that pivotal a role, but their leaders seem to be able to make decisions faster; at least, the divisions within do not attract that much attention! India is by far the biggest democracy by numbers, and is even referred to as a functioning anarchy! The political parties are voted-in and out, ad nauseam, but the vital issues remain; corruption and rule of law. Accusations fly to and fro, but the basic faults are too ingrained in the fabric. Even trillion dollars are being spoken of as unaccounted money stashed way in foreign banks, but whoever in power do not make much effort to get to the honey-pot! Obviously, the man in the street has become cynical; all are from the same stock!
Leaders get elected based on clear agenda and promises made at elections. But how flexible is the system to allow them to carry out the pledges? How can they be held accountable if fresh road-blocks are stacked on their way, preventing them making the needed progress? It becomes an impasse, like a person thrashing in the waters waiting for help, and that person happens to be the lifeguard with the duty to save lives! If democracies elect leaders without teeth, and increasingly they get bogged-down, the system will regress.
America & Europe are the bastions of democratic systems of government. India has not known any other, except for a brief period during emergency rule when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. And some still recall that time wishfully, when discipline was enforced with an iron hand! When things get really bogged-down, many feel that military rule will save the situation! Indonesia also progressed economically during the one party rule when President Suharto was in power. Decisions were made quickly and also implemented likewise! Little time was wasted in endless self-defeating procedures.
When leaders are elected with a clear mandate, the way forward should be to hold them responsible & accountable to deliver on their promises; no point in creating political impasse. The ground under America & Europe is slipping in overall world power equation. What use touting a political system which does not deliver and looks redundant in a fast changing world, crying for fast reflexes to seize the opportunities?
Many want to reach the most hallowed corridors of democratic system, where the man in the street feels empowered. Even people in China & Russia look with envy for the system of free enterprise and where they can voice their opinions & play their part. But the present functioning of democracies will not be a confidence booster, if elected leaders are made lame-ducks. The system fails, if it does not achieve results and gives false hopes endlessly! Democratic system also gives those with influence an upper hand to get benefits through various pressure groups; so it is not that perfect, after all, in empowering the common man. The real challenge will be to enforce discipline in a democracy; the leaders have to lead from the front, not only through words but by action, and for that they have to be empowered in sufficient measure. Otherwise, democracies can unravel in the face of others that enforce discipline to show results. Time indeed to fine-tune the whole process than find fault with lame duck leaders; we will be kidding ourselves endlessly and end up in a fool’s paradise!