What does it mean to be committed to democracy? It means responsibly committing oneself to the defense, promotion and development of freedom, emancipation and representative governance. This should not merely be a domestic commitment but an international one as well.
There is in fact no reason whatsoever why commitment to democracy should be delimited by national borders. Then what about interests of states, is it surely not legitimate to promote such interests?
In foreign policy theory is there a distinction between what is known as “idealism” and what is known as “realism”. Idealism in this context is the notion that “national interests” are best promoted by globalizing one’s own national values and realism is here conversely the notion that “national interests” are best promoted without regard for “subjectively sentimental considerations” such as values, history, culture, religion, morality etc.
Since both schools of thought are committed to promoting “national interests” need we surely investigate what these are. National interests refer to security, trade/economic, intelligence, military affairs as well political conditions in yet other countries. States hence have interests, yet the question arises as to whether those interests are democratically legitimate and to what extent promotion of legitimate interests is itself legitimate?
International affairs need be based on the twin pillars of of democratic values and shared interests in the sense that promotion of interests need be delimited by democratic values and that democratic values need be fully expressed through the discursive articulation of interests as part of an international norm of democratic realism.
States no less than corporations and persons obviously have interests that they indeed have vested interests in promoting. What about democratic values of freedom, emancipation and representative governance, what are these and what basis do they in fact have and is that not just merely European imperialism? In studying the democratic value systems of those successful liberal democracies where most citizens have non-European historico-cultural origins do we find that many of these countries successfully anchor their democratic values in their own cultural traditions, including religious wisdom. We need thus become more cognizant that democracy is an evolving multicultural enterprise, a global commitment and pluralist endeavor indeed.
This variation in democratic values in different liberal democracies around the world means that we may continually enrich and develop democratic values by means of deconstructively learning from traditional knowledge in various cultural traditions around the world whether “secular” or “religious” indeed.
Global democratic policy ought neither imply that democratic values are the same everywhere nor that democracy as a form of governance ought not be continually developed and improved but rather that we can learn so much from each other’s democratic values in thus very much avoiding ethnocratic approaches to the question of promotion of democratic interests.
Just as we need conduct ourselves in accordance with democratic values in domestic affairs need we do so in international affairs as well. The question then surely arises as to what implications this has for warfare, including intelligence warfare? Is not warfare inherently undemocratic in contradicting almost every democratic value there is? The problem arises with persons and groups who do not share democratic values and we certainly do need and must defend ourselves against existential enemies of open society. It is therefore essential that international affairs, including pro-democratic warfare is conducted as far as possible in accordance with democratic values and in defense of democratic interest. The fact that democratic values are not identical in different cultures just as music is not identical in different cultures is rarely a source of international friction as this is mostly due to economically developed countries irrespective of culture and religion tending to have more advanced political processes of emancipation and democracy due to relatively more advanced degrees of societal development.
As a global community need we be cognizant that although democratic values do vary between cultures is democracy a shared endeavor as certainly not limited by national borders and human racial supremacism. We need however all profoundly internalize that the articulation and promotion of interests of states must be delimited by and expressive of democratic values.
What then about non-democracies? Are non-democracies even legitimate as states and if so to what degree? The simple answer is that the more democratic a state is the more legitimate is it. There is the problem with societies where democratic values have not yet become consensual and so democratic values need not only deconstructively express worthy axioms of different cultures but democratic values importantly need become anchored in existing traditional structures of society. This has importantly and with significant success been responsibly pursued with androcentric methods in Somaliland and with gynocentric methods in Rojava. This is essentially no different than the historical fact that democratic values became anchored in traditional structures of peoplehood, organized religion and subsections of society in industrializing Europe.
Anchoring democratic values (including democratic borders) means giving citizens a stake in the democratic enterprise whether out of legitimate self-interest, concern for the wellbeing of others or a combination of both. Introduction of democracy can be implemented from top down if there is already a democratic consensus in society in terms of discursive embrace of democratic values but if this not yet exists is it quite necessary to democratize traditional structures of society as has become increasingly successfully performed in both Rojava and Somaliland.
Democratic values can, should, ought and must not be limited by the deplorable human racial supremacism as natural rights are Animal rights to the proper inclusion of Animal rights of human Animals. Similarly need democratic values be anchored in past, present and future by means of exercise of political wisdom as indeed anchored in democratic values. Political wisdom is thus precisely about the discerning and responsible promotion of democratic values. Law/ethics/morality is precisely about understanding which ethical axioms that should be given priority in any given particular context/situation and that requires developing emotionally intelligent intuitive cognitive disposition indeed.
As an international community as committed to the responsible defense, sensitive development and culturally respectful anchoring of democratic values need we be sensitive to the fact that different countries and different sections of societies have advanced to highly varying degrees in processes of emancipation and the essential anchoring of democratic values in terms of one’s own cultural heritage. This is not to imply that these processes cannot be accelerated (they can, need, ought and certainly should) but rather that democratic discourse ought be understood as very opposite of imperialism indeed.
The Eurolect – Politics of the Para-Christian documentation project