Differences between democracies and single-party regimes

Published 01.08.2017 00:18

North Korea successfully staged another intercontinental ballistic missile test last week. The buffoon who acts as the beloved leader of the North Korean people, Kim Jong-Un, has peremptorily declared that his country has the means to hit U.S. soil. It is very probably a grossly exaggerated threat, but it is a fact that nobody can stop North Korea's surreal and dangerous nuclear policy in Far East Asia. U.S. President Donald Trump sent a Twitter message accusing China of doing nothing to stop North Korea.

It is stunning that the world's greatest power's views are now conveyed to the public through Twitter messages. Communication details aside, Trump openly pushed China to do "something" about North Korea. His exact sentence was, "I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet..."

The message is unequivocal, if a rogue state (North Korea) insists upon threatening Japan and the U.S., it is up to the mentor state (The People's Republic of China) to clean its backyard. Otherwise, the vital external trade relations of China could be very adversely affected.

Xi Jinping, who was unimpressed by the U.S. president's tweets, has presided over a spectacular display of military and political might, ordering members of his 2.3 million-strong armed forces to "unswervingly follow the absolute leadership of the Communist party of China." He wore military camouflage fatigues, probably to show that he was the top dog at the head of the People's Liberation Army. China's party-run media said about 12,000 troops, more than 100 types of aircraft and 600 pieces of military hardware were put on display at the Zhurihe military training base, 400 kilometers north-west of Beijing in Inner Mongolia.

The comrade president hailed the troops who bellowed: "Serve the people! Follow the party! Fight to win!" Therefore, on its 90th anniversary, the People's Liberation Army is ready to follow the party. That is good news. They followed the party under Mao when the latter decided to get rid of the "Four pests" in China. The four pests were the mosquitoes, the flies, the rats and... the sparrows. The small birds were accused of eating grains and cereals, which, otherwise, would go into the kitchens of the Chinese proletarians. A huge campaign of bird killing followed, which did not totally eradicate sparrows from China, but severely diminished their population. As a result, huge amounts of grains were lost before being harvested, due to the proliferation of insects, which, in normal times, are eaten by... sparrows. Nobody knows exactly how many people lost their lives during the famine that followed; guesses vary between 16 and 30 million.

The party under Deng Xiao Ping decided, "A cat is good if it catches mice, whether it is a white or black cat, it does not matter." Probably an apocryphal declaration attributed to Deng, however the immense People's Republic has shifted from a very centralized Soviet-type socialist system to a prescriptive capitalism, under the enlightened guidance of the party.

This is seemingly the "strength" of autocratic regimes. They look very stable, almost opaque, nobody knows how the Chinese party members elect their presidents, and the passage of power has been almost smooth between Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao in 2003 and between Hu and Xi Jinping in 2013. Smooth changes in the leadership of single-party regimes are rare but they happened in China. Nobody knows how the Chinese decision-making system really works. We are talking about the second biggest economy in the world, and the third major military power.

The real threat is seeing these regimes crumble instantly at unexpected times. In the year 1985, a CIA report declared that the Soviet economy was strong and thriving, with the 21st century looking bright. Four years later the Berlin Wall collapsed, together with the Soviet-style socialist system around the world.

Winston Churchill once declared, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."China looks stable, so does Iran. In China though, there are an average of 50,000 local uprisings a year. Russia hardly looks stable but the central power is steadily recovering its authority all over the former Soviet Union, with the exception of Ukraine and the Baltic republics. This kind of superficial stability is very dangerous, so long as you never know what the people think.

The real advantage in Turkey is having a democratic regime in an environment where such a regime looks like an anomaly. This is our only dependable force and everything should be done to secure, deepen and reform a pluralistic, full-fledged democracy, if we do not want to have a large society that has lost its hope in a better future, meritocracy, and social upward mobility, like they have in Iran, in China and a number of other single-party regimes.

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