Are North African and Middle-Eastern countries ready for democracy?

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J-DAM10 | 23:42 Thu 10th Mar 2011 | News
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The world's newspapers and news channels have been taken over with the crisis in North Africa and the Middle-East. The violence, the protests. All in a bid to rid the involved countries of autocratic ways instilled by long term dictators such as Colonel Gadaffi.
These societies have lived under a dictatorship for decades, and to the modern generation, it is all they know and all they are used to. Take the dictators away suddenly, and you could have a big problem. I believe that if these countries were to have elections and subsequently governments were voted in fairly, the supporters of the opposition parties would start to protest and cause trouble just as they have done in recent events. The reason I say this, is due to the fact that these people have a completely different mentality to us, built up by years of growing up in oppression and therefore, are not yet capable of living in democracy.
I'm not saying that these countries are going to live in autocricy forever, but they will need a long and supervised transitional period in which to familiarise themselves with and learn to live with a democratic way of life.


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South Africa seems to be coping with democracy. Most of the electorate had no experience of it until recently.
I wrote the following a few days ago that sums up my views on this in response to one of Mollie's most sensible threads.

Tigger is half there - Molly you need to research Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs first......when I say Tigger is half way there, I mean that dictatorships or monarchies naturally thrive in 'poorer' societies - most of them that exist out there are relatively benign; however, on the 10% edge they become more threatening or 'despotic' as termed.

Lee Kwan Yiew of Singapore, a benign dictator, brilliantly summarised it for me over twenty years ago, "It is only when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person hits $20k, does the notion of democracy become sustainable........take the Far East, until recently there have been only two fledgling democracies in the Philippines and India - not even Japan until the very very recent times...or Korea or Taiwan.

When applied to the Middle East, only the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait qualify. Saudi is close at $17k but countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen are way short of the mark, as is the Cote d'Ivoire. Libya and Iran come in at about 12k..........

Democracy has to be carefully chosen - and we must not forget that some societies like S-Arabia actually have some 'democratic' systems built into them such as leaders councils on every Friday that allow voicing of issues/problems from the local community through the leadership hierarchy, including the royal family there.....not our notions of democracy but something that is overlooked by western commentators......and one reason Saudi will remain stable.
"and one reason Saudi will remain stable. "
We have to remember our great nation rise to democracy was a bloodly one too. We had a fair share of civil war and bloodly conflicts. Just ours weren't televised 24/7 around the world. Don't get me wrong i do think the goverment should get involved but we can't enforce our voting system straight away. I believe thats one reason why were struggling with Afghanistan. As they had no public say in who runs Afghanistan, just the Taliban and waring tribes, then 'here you go decide now'.
However there is two sides to every coin, as sandyRoe stated South Africa has coped just fine.

I agree with J-Dam10 with libya needing long and supervised period but could we manage it with our forces stetch already and SDSR?

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