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Should we support civilian democratic uprisings?

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:34 am
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tr3x says...



"We" being Western Liberal Democracies in general, or possibly any constitutionally secure democracy in the position to make that decision.
"Support" being either humanitarian, diplomatic, material, military or other - you decide.
"Democratic Uprisings" - Revolution.
The countries in question would be nations under autocratic rule, dictatorships, Communist states, single-party states, anywhere where such an uprising could potentially occur, for example, China.

There, I've defined it for you. What do you think?
A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on.
- Terry Pratchett

Si non confectus, non recifiat - If it ain't broken, don't fix it.




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Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:31 am
Attolia says...



Great topic. I don't think there can be a definitive answer; each case should be looked at independently. Although I suppose there is the general "Yes! Everyone state deserves democracy and freedom etc. etc." and then the general "You have to consider the instability it may create, both internally and internationally." Question though, is the alternative to "supporting" doing absolutely nothing, just watching neutrally? Or is it supporting (whether openly or secretly) the ruling regime against possible revolutions?
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Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:28 am
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Snoink says...



It depends on the circumstances.
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Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:59 pm
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Blink says...



Yes.

However, it can't be instigated externally: compare Syria with Libya. In Libya, there was a concrete (if volatile), civilian opposition to autocracy, which was doing all it could to resist the clutches of a barbaric and mentally unstable military general. So I'm glad the UN decided to use the military to bring him down. However, Syria's different; yes, most of the population probably dislike being shot at, and a large amount of people are clearly opposed to Assad's dictatorship. But with whom do we parley? Where do we drop the bombs? Would economic sanctions help, or just cause instability with no definite outcome? I want him gone, and I wish the military could be used to make it happen, but until there's an organised resistance action would be blind shooting.

No one in the West has a mandate for opposing popular calls for democracy while they vote and enjoy the benefits of pluralism. And to those who say it will cause instability: well, yes. But isn't that what politics is? Division? If people like being unified by despotism, fine - but don't claim the moral high ground when others ask for a little freedom.

EDIT: If you're referring to the big countries, like China/Putinised Russia etc - still yes. But the former will probably have a revolution soon anyway, so you know.
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Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:29 pm
tr3x says...



Snoink: Take China as a possible case.

Blink: I would personally argue pro, just as you have, but in order to make this a more interesting debate, I'm going to take con. ;)

You have conceded that the outcome of such a revolution is difficult to determine. Thus, if it were to be unsuccessful, we would have sacrificed millions of lives needlessly. I feel the price we would pay would outweigh the benefits of installing a democracy.
The current Chinese government has a reputation for ruthless censorship of all opposition. The Tiananmen Square event of '83 proved that they are willing to slaughter their own people to keep the public in check out of fear. The very nature of the autocracy means that they have no qualms about violent suppression. In rather small, isolated cases of rebellion that break out every now and then, the Chinese government quells them promptly and ruthlessly. However, in the case of an all out revolution, especially one backed by an external power through supplies and armaments, wouldn't this conflict escalate to a much larger scale? Wouldn't we be turning it into a civil war?
If the purpose is to secure the well being of the people, such actions would be counter-intuitive. An established autocracy has an established army. Would you pitch civilians and farmers with pitchforks against the might of the People's Liberation Army? Even if you did supply weapons, the chances of success are not encouraging.
Thus, by withholding support, we may well be preventing needless bloodshed.
A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on.
- Terry Pratchett

Si non confectus, non recifiat - If it ain't broken, don't fix it.