Recent protests – from Hong Kong and Sudan to Central and Eastern Europe – demonstrate that large numbers of people around the world still want democracy enough to take to the streets to demand it, The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl writes.
Stanford University’s Larry Diamond – co-editor of the National Endowment for Democracy‘s Journal of Democracy – has just published a new book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy From Russian Rage, chronicling “the rise of illiberal, anti-immigrant populist movements in Europe and the United States; the steady decline in the quality of American democracy; and the surge in global power of Russia and China, which are avidly undermining democracies and liberal values around the world.” Much of it is depressing reading, he adds:
But Diamond also reports encouraging data on whether people are losing faith in democracy. The short answer is that they are not. In recent surveys, 69 percent of respondents in Latin American countries, 89 percent in East Asia, 72 percent in Africa and 81 percent of Middle Eastern Arabs agreed with some version of the Winston Churchill-inspired precept that democracy might have its problems, but it’s still the best form of government.
The problem in those places lies not in popular will but in established democratic governments, which more often than not these days are unwilling to defend freedom elsewhere, Diehl notes. RTWT