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Anti-government protesters gather in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on January 29, 2011. In 2010, an uprising in Tunisia opened the way for a wave of popular revolts against authoritarian rulers across the Middle East known as the Arab spring. For a brief window as leaders fell, it seemed the move towards greater democracy was irreversible. Instead, the region saw its most destructive decade of the modern era. Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq have been torn apart by wars, displacement and humanitarian crisis. Photo: AP

Letters | From China and Russia to Turkey, time’s up for democracy as ‘people’s autocracy’ takes root

  • The aftermath of the Arab spring and the emergence of strongman leaders like Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan bear testimony to the failure of the collective global democratic leadership
With the emergence of the Arab spring, many political pundits were quick to express delight that the last dictatorial regimes in the Arab world would end, along with monarchism. But it was not to be. Look at Libya. Following the demise of its former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the country, under the madness of “democratisation”, has turned into an epicentre of religious extremism and terrorism.
Again, had there still been a strongman leader like the late Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the emergence of Islamic State would probably have been impossible!

The architects of the Arab spring most definitely failed in their assessment of the sociopolitical atmosphere in the Arab world. They messed up the Arab world with Western realities. They did not understand that, while democracy could be a feasible formula for the United States and other Western – and even some Afro-Asian – nations, it was simply unworkable in countries such as China or Russia.


Entering its 10th year, Syrian civil war remains the 21st century’s deadliest conflict so far

Entering its 10th year, Syrian civil war remains the 21st century’s deadliest conflict so far
In Myanmar, for example, what Aung San Suu Kyi, once hailed as an icon of democracy, has in reality established is simply hypocrisy mixed with unchecked, rogue governance. Under Suu Kyi’s fake democracy, Myanmar’s natural and mineral resources are being offered up to foreign groups, ignoring the national interest.
For decades, China has advanced both economically and technologically under a “people’s autocracy”. This formula has proved extremely viable for many developing nations. It possibly inspired Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party leaders in introducing India’s own format of people’s autocracy under the grip of ultranationalism mixed with radical Hinduism. And, of course, this formula is going to be beneficial to the people of India.
In Turkey, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also copied the formula under the cover of patriotism and strict rule.


Why China and Russia are getting increasingly close

Why China and Russia are getting increasingly close
Finally, the emergence of Chinese president Xi Jinping as the truest descendant of Chairman Mao or of Russian president Vladimir Putin in relation to Joseph Stalin is testimony to the failure of the collective global democratic leadership.

People may disagree with me, but one day they too will realise that China and Russia made the right decision at the right time.

The theory of democracy as presented by Abraham Lincoln is on life support in the intensive care unit. People’s autocracy, as a governing model, will continue to emerge in many other nations in the days to come.

M.A. Hossain, Dhaka