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The Crisis Of The Global Democratization Process As A Factor Of Transformation Of The System Of International Relations

Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 21:26

After the fall of the citadel of “tyrannical” communism of the USSR, the end of the 20th century was marked by the proclamation of liberal democracy as a political regime that guarantees a high level of state and social development, a regime that is natural, true and fair from the point of view of those protecting the inalienable human rights to life, liberty, and private property. In the wake of world democratization, F. Fukuyama's phrase “the end of history” became widespread. Its meaning is, the humanity has reached the peak of political development, which now should continue “in breadth” rather than “in depth” and result in the establishment of democracy in all countries of the world.


The main driver of this process was the economically and politically successful USA. Accordingly, all military interventions and any kinds of economic pressure against other countries were viewed as part of the “stabilizing” role of the global hegemon, which was justified by its exclusiveness and by the victory in the Cold War. Consequently, the world dominance of the United States provided not only an arsenal of “hard power” (economic power and the army), but also a tool of “soft power” (the values of liberal democracy and market economy that have been elevated to the rank of absolute and irrefutable).


According to J. Nye, the unification of these sources of power reflects the ideological component of the US foreign policy strategy known as “liberal realism,” which justifies the military intervention in any country of the world in order to bring its population to democratic values. However, this provision sharply disconcerts with the dogmas of classical liberalism:


- All people are equal in their capabilities;


- No one's humanity can be judged above or below the humanity of another;


- Freedom is conditioned by the established laws based on the principles of equal opportunity and common good;


- If the law departs from these principles, it automatically becomes an instrument of private interests, suppressing human freedom;


- Although the law structures the society, it is only a reflection of the will of the governors and the governed, which determine its nature and strength.

Against the background of the indicated discrepancies, F. Fukuyama analyzed the results of the “global democratization” in his book “America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Heritage” at the beginning of the 21st century. The following conclusion was made: the successful functioning of democratic institutions is possible only where the necessary structural conditions exist. Otherwise, instability and crises are inevitable. By the time the book was written, the US's attempts to introduce democracy through military methods in Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq ended in obvious failures. The reasons for these failures are pointed out by the experts of the Carnegie Moscow Center. In particular, P. Stronsky and E. Rumer note that the states of the former USSR face a “serious democratic problem of creating Western-type institutions where they have never existed.” The experts also point out the fact that “political stability in these countries is hampered by the weak rule of law.”


Other factors torpedoing the process of global democratization are:


- The demonstrative economic successes of the PRC with its “Marxist capitalism,” which pointed to the possibility of combining the growth of the well-being of each individual without the presence of political freedom;


- In the context of the global economic crisis, the rules of the functioning of the free market (as an indispensable element of the democratization process) not only widened the gap between rich and poor in developed and developing countries, but also reduced their incomes.


According to the McKinley Institute, in 1993-2005, the incomes of the middle class in developed countries grew steadily, while only 2 percent of the population affected by the stagnation or decline of incomes. On the other hand, the stagnation/decline category already included 60 percent of the population in 2005-2014.


At present, the main contradiction of globalization has become apparent: the benefits of this process go to the transnational elite, while the population of the national states faces the pressing problems of falling well-being, which are not balanced by the possibilities of free trade, the simplified order of crossing state borders or access to information. Based on the analysis of a large body of data, professor of the Paris School of Economics T. Picettina has come to the conclusion that the historically traced “peculiarity of the mechanism of functioning of the capitalist economy is that it generates income inequality, which ultimately neutralizes the meritocracy values that underlie a democratic state.” In doing so, he notes the “deliberate fallacy” S. Kuznets' hypothesis derived in the 1950s. According to the hypothesis, the countries that are at the lower levels of economic development in the world graduation demonstrate the tendency to increased inequality in the income of the population; however, this tendency will change for the opposite as the economy grows, accompanied by a natural intersectoral distribution of labor resources (the transfer of labor from industries with low labor productivity to high-performing industries). Picketti argues that this hypothesis is a “fairy tale” invented by Americans and Europeans to penetrate the markets of developing countries, since back in the 1970s the growth of the world economy fully reflected capitalism's inherent property to increase the inequality in income and welfare.


As a result, the effectiveness of democracy as a political regime has been questioned, since the authorities of democratic countries can not stop the process of social polarization against the backdrop of crisis phenomena in the world economy. In particular, in the rating of disadvantaged countries compiled by the Cato Institute, the outpost of democracy – the US itself – is lower than the far-from-rich EU countries: Slovakia, Romania, Hungary. The first three places are occupied by Japan, China and Thailand.


Under these conditions, there grows the social demand for strengthening the role of the state in the matters of redistributing income and guaranteeing a certain level of welfare for all. In this respect, the most attractive model is the USSR. Numerous sociological studies conducted by both Russian and American organizations indicate that one of the leading trends in the public consciousness of the population of the post-Soviet countries is nostalgia for the Soviet past. In particular, according to a survey conducted by the Levada Center at the end of 2016, 56 percent of Russian respondents expressed regret about the disintegration of the USSR. In 2013, the American Gallup Institute conducted a similar study in all countries of the former USSR (except Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), and received similar results in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Ukraine. The main reasons for nostalgia for the USSR are:

- The advantages of the planned economy, which offered financial stability as opposed to market unpredictability;


- The lost sense of belonging to a great power.


These results cause concern in the US official and academic circles. Experts at the Carnegie Moscow Center point out that as the inheritor of the USSR in the international arena, Russia aims to restore the Soviet empire as the leading opposer of the West. In view of this, Russia seeks not to follow the US de facto rules, but to establish such rules. In this respect, they have two basic prerequisites: A) the role of the Russian Federation as the recipient of labor migrants from the countries of the post-Soviet space; B) the low level of adaptation to market conditions in virtually all former Soviet republics. In the opinion of Western experts, Moscow's rejection of the rules of international interaction de facto established by the United States exposes the fact that the actions of Russia reflect the plans for becoming a superpower defining a global model that other states will be willing to accept voluntarily or involuntarily, agreeing to perform subordinate roles.


It follows as a logical consequence that the growing tension in the Russian-American relations is due to the fact that Russia is an ideological competitor of the US. Although most of the CIS countries were oriented toward the Euro-Atlantic values after the collapse of the USSR, none of them, except for the Baltic States, has adopted these values over the 25 years of their independent existence.


However, since the complete restoration of the USSR model is not possible a priori, the experts of the Wilson Center propose to introduce the concept of a “neo-Soviet state,” in which certain elements of the political system of the USSR are restored, and Russia is perceived as the center of a unified economic space, which causes its interests to mismatch with the interests of the countries of the West. The key idea is that there is no unified model of a neo-Soviet state, since the restoration of Soviet practices and the general nostalgia for the USSR varies from country to country.


Against this background, Washington is taking a number of measures aimed: (a) to discredit the disintegrated USSR; B) to transfer their negative image onto the Russian Federation; C) to undermine the Russian-Chinese relations. Let us consider each of these measures in detail.


The discrediting of the USSR is manifested, in particular, in allegations that the prohibitive religious policy of the Soviet leadership was continued by the leaders of the independent Central Asian states and has allegedly resulted in the radicalization of adherents of Islam in the countries of Central Asia. In turn, this adversely affects the prospects for the effectiveness of the world community's fight against terrorism.


The labeling of the Russian Federation is characterized by the fact that the English-language publications are actively promoting the following ungrounded theses: A) the Russian president is the arbiter of the destinies of democracies (Ukraine, Syria); B) Russian special services organize large-scale hacker attacks aimed at influencing the internal political processes of the countries across the world; C) the Russian Federation violates the norms of international law. However, if we analyze the US actions in retrospect, we can state that since the early 1990s, the US has been the arbiter of the destinies of democracies by violating international rules (for example, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, without the sanction of the UN Security Council). In addition, there are proven facts of the US National Security Agency's audio interceptions of the first persons of a number of states (in particular, A. Merkel and F. Olanda).


The need for torpedoing the Russian-Chinese relations is indicated by Z. Brzezinski, an American political scientist. In his view, the United States should be concerned about the possibility of a formal strategic alliance between the PRC and Russia. Considering the fact that the US influence in the world will be as high as possible only if they closely cooperate with the PRC, Brzezinski believes that Washington should not treat China as an enemy. China has the opportunity to choose: if the country is put out of temper by the United States, an alternative will certainly be found. Consequently, the long-term interests of the US lie in the sphere of strengthening relations with the PRC and blocking the prospects for rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow. There is evidence that the US officials are guided by these theses: A) the sharp negative assessment of the activities of the EEU and the strong approval of the “Economic Belt of the Great Silk Road,” as increasing penetration of the PRC in Central Asia can provoke an opposition on the part of Russia; B) the US withdrawal from the anti-China Trans-Pacific partnership, which implicitly points to Washington's desire to avoid putting the PRC out of temper.


Thus, launched in the late 1990s, the trend towards global democratization is declining. It has fully reflected the entire range of its destructive consequences that have been experienced by a large number of countries in the world: a) the introduction of democratic principles is often carried out by military means under the direct guidance of the world's missionary democracy, the United States; B) the functioning of democratic institutions in a number of societies is not effective, and the mechanisms of market economy (a necessary attribute of democracy) strengthen social polarization.


Accordingly, the US credibility in the world is declining. A social demand is being formed, one that envisages a strengthened role of the state, which uses the functions of material wealth redistribution and ensures public order, thus guaranteeing the stability of the political system and reducing the level of social inequality. In general, this directly contradicts the national interests of the United States, since it reduces the USA's ability to exert influence on the internal political processes of countries within the US zone of interest. These primarily include: the states of Eurasia (Heartland); according to theorists of the Anglo-Saxon school of geopolitics, the control over this zone will ensure the world domination for them. In turn, Russia as the legal successor to the USSR acts as an ideological competitor of the United States in this space. In view of this, the current state of international relations is characterized by growing tensions in the Russian-American relations. This is manifested not only in mutual sanctions, but also in the US-promoted aggressive anti-Soviet discourse against the backdrop of implicit attempts to prevent the creation of a strategic alliance between the PRC and Russia. Consequently, the events taking place in the world are woven into the new trend of global development, which is characterized by the formation of a new balance of power.

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