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But their fundamental demand is one that has motivated people over many decades to take a stand against corrupt, abusive and autocratic governments. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures.That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal.In the 18th century only the American revolution produced a sustainable democracy.
In the first half of the 20th century nascent democracies collapsed in Germany, Spain and Italy.
By 1941 there were only 11 democracies left, and Franklin Roosevelt worried that it might not be possible to shield “the great flame of democracy from the blackout of barbarism”.
I hope to resist these temptations; it is better for us to be understood by our friends, and by ourselves, as we are, without exaggeration of virtues or indulgence of faults.
We in Pakistan sometimes show a tendency--and I know we have by no means a monopoly of it--to commend ourselves merely for the abstract goodness of our asserted purposes, without regard to whether our purposes have been fulfilled.
THE protesters who have overturned the politics of Ukraine have many aspirations for their country.
Their placards called for closer relations with the European Union (EU), an end to Russian intervention in Ukraine’s politics and the establishment of a clean government to replace the kleptocracy of President Viktor Yanukovych. Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption.Representatives of more than 100 countries gathered at the World Forum on Democracy in Warsaw that year to proclaim that “the will of the people” was “the basis of the authority of government”.A report issued by America’s State Department declared that having seen off “failed experiments” with authoritarian and totalitarian forms of government, “it seems that now, at long last, democracy is triumphant.”Such hubris was surely understandable after such a run of successes.Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife.Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world.The progress seen in the late 20th century has stalled in the 21st.Even though around 40% of the world’s population, more people than ever before, live in countries that will hold free and fair elections this year, democracy’s global advance has come to a halt, and may even have gone into reverse.BECAUSE the need for political stability is central to all the major questions faced by my country, I should like to concentrate on an analysis of this problem, suggesting the spirit and attitude with which it must be met rather than articulating a specific policy.In addressing an interpretation of this kind to a foreign audience, a Prime Minister comes under a double temptation--to boast and yet to be apologetic for the state of affairs in his nation.Freedom House reckons that 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which global freedom declined, and that its forward march peaked around the beginning of the century.Between 19 the cause of democracy experienced only a few setbacks, but since 2000 there have been many.