September 20th, 2021

Why has western democracy failed so badly?


By Letter to the Editor on September 11, 2021.

Editor:
I don’t like Communists nor Islamic fundamentalist rule in Afghanistan. But that’s not the point.
I was shocked and surprised how fast the Afghan government collapsed even after 20 years of the involvement of the world’s wealthiest countries to support it. It cost billions of dollars and sacrifices of thousands of lives. It reminds me of the collapse of the Nationalist Chinese government in 1947. It took only two years after the Japanese surrender. It shows how little we learn from history, and how expensive it is to ignore lessons of history.
Even in my life-span of less than a century, I witnessed three instances of the mighty Western Democracy failing to prevail in Asia despite heavy involvement in money and personnel. China in 1947, Vietnam in 1975, and now Afghanistan. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of World War II in the Pacific and the Korean War said, “Anyone who contemplates another war in Asia has to have his head examined.” Twelve years later in 1965, John F. Kennedy ordered American troops into Vietnam.
I met an ex-soldier when he came back from China. It was 1947: Japan surrendered in 1945. His regiment was disarmed and disbanded but returned home a few years later than others. The delay was caused by the Communist/Nationalist conflict in China. Only a few days after his unit had been disarmed, they were armed again under the command of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Chinese Nationalist government. 
They were ordered to make 180 degrees about-face to face the advancing Communist “People’s Liberation Army” under Mao Zedong. The battle didn’t last long. The Nationalist command structure disintegrated soon and in two years China was taken over by the Communists. Speed was breath-taking.
The whole organization of the Chinese Nationalist Party escaped to Taiwan where it still resides. The victorious Western powers of WWII, particularly the United States, who supported Chiang Kai-shek long before “Pearl Harbour,” were shocked at how easy and fast the collapse of Nationalist China was. It was particularly frustrating considering the large sum of money and deep commitment by American Air Force volunteer personnel who helped the Chinese Nationalists.
However, from the perspective of Japanese colonial expatriates who had to escape the advancing Chinese and Russian armies in North Eastern China, it was easy to understand what happened.
Initially Japanese entrepreneurs who had had farms and factories in Korea and Manchuria, including my father’s family, found themselves hiding their valuables and disguised women and girls like men, to protect themselves against the advancing armies.
They were commanded by the corrupt leadership whose soldiers were a bunch of thugs, according to my uncle.
But later the situation became a lot better and safer when the Chinese Communists’ People’s Liberation Army replaced Chinese Nationalists and Russians. They were better disciplined and orderly, said my uncle.
I wish someone good in historical analysis would tell me why Western Democracy failed so miserably in China in 1947, in Vietnam in 1975 and in Afghanistan in 2001. 
Tad Mitsui
Lethbridge

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Fedup Conservative

Tad I think Biden said it best. After the U.S. had spent Billions on training these people to defend themselves all the soldiers and their generals went into hiding as soon as he announced the Americans were leaving. They offered up no support for their people and had no intention of fighting.

Les Elford

Tad; Thank you for your very interesting accounting of historical events I was never aware of. I too have often wondered what has happened” what has gone wrong with democracy in North America? Well in every industrialized country really. That is a big question and I am not smart enough to have the answers.  I suspect money, power and control have something to do with it. 
Many ” A” type personalities are drawn to the political theatre. It is said many “A” type personalities exhibit sociopathic personality characteristics.
Somewhere along the line ,,, I think the vetting process became significantly broken.  I suspect many (not all) of the candidates enter politics for “their reasons”, not for the benefit of the citizens or quickly get ensnarled within the “group think” party Ideology and independent thought and representation becomes quickly penalized. 
Sadly; trying to get rid of ineffective, corrupt, lazy, incompetent politicians before their term expires becomes virtually impossible. Many of us are so caught up in the day to day grind worrying about jobs, mortgage payments, affordability, health concerns, elderly parents, children, COVID we often become so exhausted, so stressed we just don’t have enough time and energy to pay attention or try to figure out politicians purposeful miscommunication strategies. I feel and fear social insurrection is on the rise as a result.
Jodie Wilson –Raybould stood head and shoulders above the rest. For the most part; she represented with honor, pride, dignity and honesty and integrity. The same cannot be said for any of her male counterparts. She was and is my hero for “speaking her truth” and trying to stand for what is right.
While I am unable to speak to the previous history you’ve identified. I thank you once again for bring it to our attention. 
 I think the following quote provide some kind of understanding of what has been allowed to damage and destroy Canadian politics. I suspect these issues, symptoms are not just inherent in the Liberal Party of Canada, but have been allowed to run; rampant, unimpeded throughout all the political parties. Unfortunately it appears; all have been tainted and painted by the corruption and scandal brush.
Many brilliant people have stated ….. the power … the real power rests with us the people. But sadly we have given it to the politicians.  
During this election period the time is ideal to begin to correct this and take the power back. All Politicians must be accountable, they must be honest, they must have integrity. It is up to us to ensure nothing less.  
Jody Wilson-Raybould most recently served as the independent Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville. The following is excerpted from her latest book, ‘Indian’ in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, which will be published Tuesday.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-that-moment-i-knew-he-wanted-me-to-lie-jody-wilson-raybould-recalls/#:~:text=WATCHLIST-,OPINION,UPDATED%2055%20MINUTES%20AGO,-147%20COMMENTS

Please consider reading the full article and or the book.
 
“The government’s response over the next 72 hours had been a case study in hubris – at once both surprised that they had been caught and offended that anyone could think they would ever do anything wrong. In the Indigenous political world I had come from, we always talked about how government practice, for generations, was to deny, delay, and distract when it came to Indigenous issues. I had heard that phrase – deny, delay, and distract – since I was a kid. The past three years had shown me that governments use that strategy far beyond their dealings with Indigenous peoples. Sometimes all Canadians are treated contemptuously. On SNC-Lavalin, few were buying it. And they were right to be skeptical.”

“Either the Prime Minister knew everything that had happened and did not care and was clearly lying to me and the country, or he did not know what had been happening during the months after September 17 to try to exert pressure on me and was not in control of his office. He was either complicit or incompetent. If it was the former, and the Prime Minister admitted it to me, there was nothing I could do to help address this matter. It was over. Either for him or me. Or even potentially the government. If it was the latter, lord help the country, there still would have been a way to admit everything publicly, address the wrongs, and do better – much better; there still would have been a way to preserve the credibility of our system and respect the rule of law.”

“At this point, I could feel the conversation beginning to turn. It was going to get personal, and with that, a bit more heated. He asked if I trusted him. He also asked if I trusted his judgment to build a team. Ugh. Such questions. “I want to believe in you and trust in you,” I replied. “But it is hard to separate the two questions. I do not trust the people around you any longer.”

“I could see the agitation visibly building in the Prime Minister. His mood was shifting. I remember seeing it. I remember feeling it. I had seen and felt this before on a few occasions, when he would get frustrated and angry. But this was different. He became strident and disputed everything I had said. He made it clear that everyone in his office was telling the truth and that I, and by extension Jessica Prince, my chief of staff, and others, were not. He told me I had not experienced what I said I did. He used the line that would later become public, that I had “experienced things differently.”

“I knew what he was really asking. What he was saying. In that moment, I knew he wanted me to lie – to attest that what had occurred had not occurred. For me, this was just more evidence that he did not know me, did not know who I was or where I was from. Me – lie to protect a Crown government acting badly; a political party; a leader who was not taking responsibility. He must be delusional.

“As he went on, I stared out the window over to the North Shore. I did not say anything for a while; I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss, and of deep disappointment. I knew then that the path that had led me to being the “Indian” in the Cabinet had veered in a different direction. The work was not over, certainly, but this man was not the leader I had thought him to be. It was clear. Now, it was clear.”

“I eventually told the Prime Minister that I was feeling uncomfortable and that I wanted to go. I told him the only option he had left me with was to consider whether I could stay in my position or whether I needed to resign, but that I needed to think more.”

“Before I could leave, he started to talk in his aggressive and condescending way about how much work we had done and still had to do. I cut him off and countered, “Don’t blame me for this. This is not my fault.” I was laser angry in that moment. I felt him turning on me even more – I could see it in his face, his eyes, and in his mannerisms – because he wasn’t getting his way”.

“I told him I had serious concerns and that my belief in him was very shaken. At some point, he asked me what he should say to the media. He had a media availability ostensibly on housing later that morning. He mentioned a line they were thinking of using: “Her presence in Cabinet speaks for itself …” Can you believe it? I told him I was not going to give him communications advice. How ridiculous. In my opinion, there is no spin on dishonesty.”

“I got up and left. I had to think.”

Excerpt from ‘Indian’ in the Cabinet by Jody Wilson-Raybould. Published in the English language in Canada by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Copyright © 2021 by Jody Wilson-Raybould. All rights reserved.

Respectfully;

prairiebreze

This is no surprise; Afghans were never wholeheartedly committed to fighting for democracy. It’s still a concept that most will never fully understand and its no wonder when you consider that Afghanistan is a country made up mainly of tribes that embrace a way of life that is outdated and foreign to us. Meddling in their affairs has backfired in our face. Trillions of dollars and effort wasted. We best stay out of their affairs and let them figure it our as the West has done. It took centuries of fighting and sacrifice to have the freedoms and democracy we enjoy. Sometimes it takes failure after failure for a people to rise and fight for something better. If we do anything at this point it should be to take those who want to leave, to neighboring countries where Afghans share similar culture, language and religion. Bringing them to the west will be another costly disaster that will increase racism; and open us up to risk.

biff

great entry. moreover, does anyone really believe the usa is truly concerned with bringing “democracy” and “freedom” to anyone? they have never done as much anywhere, and along the way they have installed, propped up, and long supported the most gruesome, wicked, corrupt, ruthless and undemocratic scum leaders. the game is run by the world’s most wealthy oligarchs – never elected, never removed from their positions of power, and yet, always present and pervasive.

phlushie

It failed because it never was a democracy, but an elected autocracy. The minute you have majority rule, you have blinding of the consequences and you instill corruption to succeed in the “task”

biff

i appreciate the entries from les and phlush. one thing that irks me with multi-background folk is that play off the “minority” aspect of their “heritage”. obama: black, but really, half black and half white…in fact, more to the white as he was raised by his white mom and not at all by absent black dad. jody is half white, but god bless her disadvantaged life…like obama, never without a decent meal…but she has learned how to use the “minority” card to advantage. it is all quite pathetic.
humans had best get a grip. we are souls locked in a body until said body expires. what houses us each so temporarily is the equivalent of illusion. not one of us is anything other than a tiny speck of the utterly same whole. we need to get away from the seeming divisions asap. we need to quit being limited by the socially conditioned expectations associated with race/creed, and unleash our full potential to explore and experience without artificial limits concocted by the most thick and racist among us. there is wisdom and grace and beauty in every culture, practiced by every race: explore and pursue as much as one wishes, freely.



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