Politically inconvenient truth about US democracy
Published: Mar 29, 2023 10:15 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

The second "Summit for Democracy"  is taking place from March 28 to 30. It'll be co-hosted by the US, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Zambia in a hybrid format consisting of virtual plenary sessions followed by gatherings in each of those countries. In the run-up to this event, it's timely to reflect on what exactly democracy is, what form the US really practices, and why it manipulates popular perceptions about this. 

Contrary to so-called conventional wisdom in the West, this group of countries doesn't practice the only form of democracy, but merely a regional variant that emerged from its historical socio-political conditions. While it's true that elements of representative democracy have since spread across the world for the most part, the geographic origin of this system doesn't bestow those states with any special rights or privileges, whether legally or morally. 

At its most basic conceptual form, democracy can be summarized as a system of government that represents the true will of the majority. From the preceding description, it can be seen that the terms "true will" and "the majority" are key qualifying criteria for whether or not a system of government can be described as a democracy. With this in mind, some of the conclusions that average Westerners took for granted about various countries' political systems are challenged, including their own in some cases. 

For instance, while the US presents itself as the golden standard of democracy, the informal financial criteria that aspiring politicians must meet in order to stand a realistic chance of winning national office whether in the executive or legislative branches greatly limits the number of possible candidates. Not only that, but these factors serve to reinforce the two-party system that critics have described as separate sides of the same "uniparty" coin, thus controlling the majority's political options. 

As for whether or not the US' democratic system sincerely reflects the "true will" of the population, it's enough to remember that just six corporations control around 90 percent the mainstream media that Americans consume. 

The aforesaid factors therefore shine a "politically inconvenient" light on the nature of US democracy by proving that it doesn't perfectly represent either "the majority" or their "true will" unlike what its officials have falsely claimed for years. 

Recalling that democracy can be summarized as a system of government that represents the true will of the majority, the communist one implemented by the People's Republic of China through the meritocratic Communist Party of China (CPC) arguably meets these criteria a lot better than the US' does. To explain, the CPC has been so successful at ensuring the equitable distribution of wealth that it's achieved the greatest anti-poverty gains in history by lifting literally hundreds of millions out of poverty. 

Having factually clarified why average Westerners should be more critical of the US' democracy while appreciating China's a lot more than most presently do, it's now time to touch upon why American officials continue to manipulate perceptions about these observations. Simply put, this is being done to discredit China's national model of democracy that emerged from its own historical socio-political conditions in order to justify subversive actions against it aimed at delaying the decline of US hegemony. 

By falsely framing China as a non-democratic state or even an "authoritarian regime," the targeted audience of these artificially manufactured information warfare narratives is misled into thinking that the CPC doesn't reflect the true will of the majority of the Chinese people. This false perception is subsequently exploited to get them to go along with acts of unconventional aggression against that country that are intended to destabilize it. 

The implied and sometimes even explicitly expressed intent is to foment the socio-economic conditions for a so-called "democratic" regime change there, otherwise known as a Color Revolution, which refers the combination of information warfare, weaponized protests, and urban terrorism. It's impossible for this to ever happen in China, but cultivating the false expectation of this scenario in the minds of the Western public is meant to convince them that these unprovoked acts of hostility are "morally right."

The real purpose behind these hybrid war attacks, however, is to slow China's economic rise, meddle in its mutually beneficial foreign ties, and ultimately prevent the fulfilment of what President Xi Jinping has described as the Chinese Dream. The zero-sum mindset shared by US policymakers results in them wrongly thinking that a strong, prosperous, and confident China will somehow harm their interests even though it would strengthen globalization and international stability, in which the US also has stakes. 

It's due to this grand strategic miscalculation that observers should expect the US to fearmonger about that country during the second "Summit for Democracy" in an attempt to justify its hybrid war-driven subversion of China's purely peaceful rise. There's no universal model of democracy nor does any country have a monopoly on this political concept, but falsely implying or outright claiming otherwise as the US is doing is intended to manipulate popular perceptions for malicious ends. 

The author is a Moscow-based American political analyst. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn