March 25, 2008

Democracy—It’s starting to spread!

Well of course, we?re all agreed that democracy is the ideal form of government, and, indeed, we should try to spread this salubrious system to all corners of the earth ? oh wait?

Jane?s Country Risk?s is out with its rankings of the most ?stable and prosperous? nations of the world, and most of those receiving automatic bids to the championship series all have something in common?and it ain?t democracy.

As my good friend from grad school emailed me to point out, the top five are monarchic, and in a whopping eight out of the top ten, a sovereign sits on the thrown.

Here?s the list in full:

Most stable
1. Vatican
2. Sweden
3. Luxembourg
4. Monaco
5. Gibraltar
6. San Marino
7. Liechtenstein
8. United Kingdom
9. The Netherlands
10. Irish Republic

It?s also worthwhile taking a look at those that didn?t quite get an invitation to the big dance, the ?most instable.? 

1. Central African Republic?a flourishing democracy since 1993!  And as I?ve learned from Wikipedia, CAR was named the world?s leader for ?sustainable development.? (It?s also one of the poorest countries in the world)

2. Democratic Congo?eponymously democratic!

3. Chad?oh so parliamentary!

4. Zimbabwe?monarchic Rhodesia is a thing of the past!

5. Haiti?thank goodness America ?restored democracy? back in the 1990s, otherwise?

6. Ivory Coast?presidential system!

7. Afganistan?liberated by America and now its women are going to college!

8. Sudan?quasi-democracy now under government of ?national unity.?

9. Somalia?site of U.S. intervention and presence of U.S. and UN ?peace keeping? troops

10. Gaza and West Bank?Palestinian Authority elections propped up by massive U.S. aid. 

I?d never want to confuse a correlation with a cause, as have Thomas Friedman and many a neocon, and there are certainly many important reasons besides ?democracy? why these countries are poor and unstable. But don?t you think that just maybe the White House, State Department, and our beloved media elites might want to take a second look at that whole ?spread of democracy by benign American hegemon = good? idea they?re so found of?

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