It's election time in Finland. And while I am not a Finnish national I am happy to take part in the campaign and happy to live in a democracy. This country even has an elected head of state. Not fake like in neighbouring Russia, but a real one that needs to convince people why hän is the right the person for the job. It's way I like to see things.
Democracy is precious thing and a source of concern is that over the last decade it has gone globally into decline. The guardian of 27th of March reports that 11 opposition leaders are behind bars facing jail or death. The countries being Venezuela, Ethiopia, Maldives, Kuwait, Democratic Republic of the Congo,Tanzania, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland and Burundi. Many of these countries lie in Africa and you might think that it is reason enough for being backward, but the cause of decline of democratic values is in each case wildy different.
However, what for me immediately catches the eye is Venezuela. It used to be a democratic country until Hugo Chávez, a left populist, came to power. During his in office democracy took a big blow. And while he enjoyed a lot of popular support his successor Nicolás Maduro does not. It has led to ever harsher suppression of the opposition. Another country is Kuwait. Wasn't that the one Americans fought for to free from Saddam Hussein? You would think that a more lenient, democratic government would be in place now. But that hardly seems to be the case.
Democracy in decline. It should worry us. And yet there are other things that bother us. The borders of the EU are restless to the point that some politicians are longing for the days of autocratic regimes along the Mediterranean. That seems to me wishing for more trouble. The autocratic regimes were toppled because they were not stable enough to endure. And Putin sets an example of being the kind of dictator that will take democracy away from you if you don't have the weapons to defend it. What is needed is a formula to promote democracy where it is does not exist. What really spooks me is that since world war II we have developed no framework to extend our democratic values to others. In the cold war we were only too happy to accommodate anyone who was nice to us. Never minding what they did to their own people. Now that comes back to haunt us. Europe is still an isle of democracy and it is a real victory that we have drawn the eastern block into our democratic camp, but there it has stopped. We had no solution for post-jugoslavia and now we are helpless in the aftermath of the Arab spring. That bothers me. It might seem a matter of no interest for anyone here, however the middle-east is already boiling over and it looks like it only will get worse. It will soon turn into global issue. Then we have to deal with it, whether we like it or not. I wish we had a cunning plan.