Sustainable Democracy in Developing Countries Essay

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer


During the last three decades, the American government has made numerous attempts to promote democracy in various regions of the world. For instance, one can mention such countries as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and so forth. Very often, these attempts resulted in the complete failure because new democracies proved to be unsustainable. This paper is aimed at determining what types of democracies can be most suitable for countries that experienced different forms of totalitarianism in the past.

Moreover, one should determine the extent to which these new states can be made sustainable. It is possible to say that liberal democracy can be the most efficient approach for such states because it reduces the risks of discrimination and violations of human rights. However, the sustainability of such states is dependent on a variety of factors such as the efficiency of the government and economic development of a country; to a great extent, the future of these democracies cannot be easily predicted. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify the conditions which can contribute to the success of such countries. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely.

Choosing the most appropriate type of democracy

Overall, political scientists distinguish various types of democracies that differ in terms of how people’s will is represented or how the rights of citizens are protected by the state. It seems that the main concern for the policy-makers should be the tyranny of the majority (Cunningham 53). In other words, there is always a risk that a group of people representing the majority of the population can adopt laws that can marginalize or even dehumanize minority groups (Cunningham 53). These minorities can be marked by such characteristics as religion, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, political convictions, and so forth. This is one of the risks that attract the attention of many political scientists and lawyers. Therefore, the main task is to implement a system of checks and balances that minimize this threat. It seems that liberal democracy can be the most suitable approach in this case. This approach implies that the power of policy-makers is limited by several important documents, such as the constitution or the bill of rights. These documents should provide various guarantees, such as the right to free speech or freedom of religion.

Moreover, it is important to eliminate every form of discrimination, at least at the official level. This provision can also be included in the constitution of the country. One should bear in mind that many of these states are ridden with internal conflicts. For instance, one can mention the confrontation between different religious groups (Cohen 3). This argument is particularly relevant to countries like Iraq or Afghanistan. In turn, liberal democracy is supposed to ensure that the newly-formed government does not oppress various groups. This approach is important for reconciling the interests of different stakeholders who can often be opposed to one another.

It is important to remember that many of these states could have gained independence relatively late. Many of them could be colonial territories in the past. For example, Iraq was controlled by the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain. As a rule, these communities are profoundly affected by many internal hostilities. In turn, liberal democracy can be an important precaution against various pitfalls. Provided that the United States intends to support such countries, American policy-makers should take into account the socio-cultural peculiarities of a particular country; otherwise, their strategies can be based on flawed assumptions that may eventually prove disastrous.

Moreover, one can say that this liberal democracy should be representative, which means that a group of people should be elected to promote the interests of the community. This method can be particularly useful in countries with a large population. However, representative democracy can be efficient if the elections are organized properly. These are the main points that can be made.


Still, legal provisions may not be sufficient for the sustainability of these democracies. Their survival can depend on many external and internal circumstances that cannot be easily measured or predicted. In particular, it is possible to speak about the efficiency of the democratic government and its ability to promote entrepreneurship and curb corruption. So, it is critical to implement and enforce laws which facilitate the growth of private businesses.

Furthermore, policy-makers and public administrators should consider the interests of various social groups. Overall, the democratic government should demonstrate that it is more efficient than a totalitarian regime. Much attention should also be paid to the efficiency of law-enforcement agencies that should act impartially and efficiently. Thus, the main task of the democratic government is to show that it can bring improvements into the lives of people; otherwise, they may believe that democracy as a form of government is not applicable to their country. Provided that this goal is not achieved, the country is at a greater risk of transforming into a totalitarian regime once again. Additionally, it is important to remember that totalitarian politicians can rise to power if democratic governments are affected by significant internal conflicts or power struggles. This is one of the main issues that should be taken into consideration by the policy-makers who should keep in mind that their interests or political ambitions should be set aside, especially at the time of crisis.

Furthermore, much attention should be paid to the role played by civil society. A newly-formed democracy is more likely to be sustainable if citizens closely monitor the activities of the government and identify their mistakes. In many cases, journalists and various representatives of mass media can significantly contribute to the improvement in the work of governmental institutions. In turn, the government should be open to the critique offered by the civic society; otherwise, such a government may not be able to retain the trust of the public for a long time. This is one of the main pitfalls that should be avoided by the leaders of a new democracy.

Apart from that, one should not forget about the influence of external factors. For instance, much attention should be paid to the availability of foreign direct investment, which can be crucial for the economic development of the community (Rotberg 10). Similarly, a country, which is integrated into the global economy, is more likely to become a sustainable democracy. The most eloquent example of such a state is South Korea, which became more democratic due to its rapid economic growth. Therefore, the sustainability of such countries can depend on the policies of other states that should provide support to new democracies.

Furthermore, the country should have an efficient army that can cope with external threats. For instance, it is possible to refer to such a country as Iraq that could not cope with the threat of terrorism. One should keep in mind that successful democracies such as South Korea or Japan did not have to face such risks as terrorism, religious feud, or ethnic hostilities. This is one of the things that distinguishes them from states like Afghanistan or Iraq. These are some of the main details that should not be overlooked.

Thus, it is possible to say that the sustainability of a democracy is dependent on the decisions of separate policy-makers, the functioning of social institutions, and the strategies of other states. Moreover, it is important to remember about the attitudes of citizens who should actively monitor the work of government, especially the ability of policy-makers to contribute to the social and economic progress. These are some of the main factors that should be taken into account because they shape how such societies can evolve in the future.


The attempts to bring to democracy have been debated by many political scientists and historians. Admittedly, one can provide examples of countries that profoundly benefited from democratization. It is possible to distinguish such countries as South Korea, Japan, or Germany. Nevertheless, there are many examples of failed or failing democracies. Iraq. Libya and Afghanistan are probably the most notorious cases. Thus, it is important to identify the most important risk factors that can undermine a newly-formed democracy.

Furthermore, one should single out the strengths can mitigate both internal and external risks. By looking at this issue from this perspective, legislators and policy-makers can develop better strategies. These are some of the points that can be made.


This discussion shows that the transformation of a country into democracy is a time-consuming and unpredictable process. It seems that liberal democracy can be the most suitable approach for the countries that were totalitarian in the past. This form of government is an important safeguard against the violations of human rights. However, this approach does not guarantee the long-term sustainability of democracy. Much attention should be paid to a variety of factors such as economic development of the state, the participation of citizens in the political life, the efficiency of the government, and the work of law-enforcement agencies. These are the main arguments that can be advanced.

Works Cited

Cohen, Saul. Geopolitics: The Geography of International Relations, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. Print.

Cunningham, Frank. Theories of Democracy: A Critical Introduction, New York: Psychology Press, 2002. Print.

Rotberg, Robert. Crafting the New Nigeria: Confronting the Challenges, New York: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004. Print.

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