“The white man’s burden” was a phrase used to justify colonial aggression, which meant it was the duty of the white man to teach civilisation to the world. But what actually happened was unprecedented atrocities, unknown in the history of human civilisation.
Now the United States has taken up the burden of spreading “democracy” and “freedom” by intervention in other countries. But wherever it has intervened it has only created refugees, and not democracy. The “war on terror” has only created Isis and invigorated Talibans.
The word “democracy” is misused by imperialism to camouflage its war crimes against countries that oppose imperialist hegemony.
An international summit on democracy was called by Joe Biden on 9 and 10 December that had nothing related to democracy except an attempt to create a bloc against Russia and China, thereby initiating a new Cold War. It is an indication of the frustration of the United States at its diminishing hegemony and a realisation that the earth under its feet is fast eroding.
This summit was happening when there was a stepping up of tension on the Ukrainian border. When the Soviet Union crumbled, an assurance was given to Gorbachev that NATO forces in Europe would not proceed an inch eastwards, and he was naïve enough to believe it. Now NATO forces are moved to the Ukrainian border to threaten Russia. Gorbachev, now at ninety years of age, is lamenting that the United States is becoming arrogant after the Soviet collapse.
This summit aimed at manufacturing consent to justify military spending of $768 billion for the new Cold War, which Democrats and Republicans have agreed upon.
It’s interesting to notice the peak of hypocrisy when we look at the countries that participated in the “summit on democracy.” India (which has been downgraded as “partly free” by the American organisation Freedom House) was one among the participants, where, interestingly, a Nazi-type oath was taken by right-wing Hindutva fanatics to commit genocide against Muslims, like the one against Rohingya Muslims in Burma. Israel, another participant, even denies basic necessities, such as food, water, and medicines, to the Palestinian people. Authoritarian states such as Duterte’s Philippines and Bolsanaro’s Brazil were also among those invited.
The US penchant for democracy is evident when it refuses to lift the economic blockade on Cuba in spite of 184 countries in the UN General Assembly supporting the removal of the ban.
Nicolás Maduro was elected democratically as president of Venezuela, but the United States refuses to recognise his government and does not allow Venezuela to use its own gold, worth £1.4 billion (which the country wants to use for covid relief), stored in the Bank of England, instead recognising the imperialist pimp Juan Guaidó, who wants the gold to stay in the Bank of England’s locker.
What is the state of democracy in the United States? Black people got voting rights in the United States only in 1965, when black women also got the right to vote. But movements such as Black Lives Matter originated because black people “can’t breathe” under the racial discrimination of US “democracy.”
This “democracy” holds the record of having the largest number of people in prison as a proportion of the population. Most of the people languishing in prison are black people, falsely implicated and made to work as slaves—slavery in essence but different in form. Guantánamo prison is considered by Amnesty International a notorious example of American violation of human rights, where innocents are detained without trial in the name of anti-terrorism.
If democracy is rule by the people, on how many issues affecting the people has the United States conducted referendums? In the United States, electoral democracy is only a method of choosing one of the two parties with the same policy; this is the reason that there is a decline in the proportion of the people participating in the democratic process, as the public feel they have no say in policy-making. In other words, US “democracy” is an electoral autocracy.
Has there been a reckoning in US “democracy” for the mishandling of covid-19, which killed so many people in spite of the country’s developments in science and technology?
How does US “democracy” value labour rights? American “democracy” denies Amazon employees the right to unionise. Over a period of one year six workers died in an Amazon warehouse in Alabama because of inhuman working conditions, and the corporate giant is trying to cover it up. In Edwardsville, Illinois, after a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse, six employees died.
This is the way the United States, which preaches democracy to the whole world, treats its own people.
The summit began with Joe Biden’s words, “A free and independent media is the bedrock of democracy.” On the other hand, Julian Assange, who exposed the lies and war crimes of the US government, is being harassed. Each year $300 million ($1.2 billion in four years) is spent on “countering Chinese influence,” which means that anything to vilify China will be published, without research or verification of its authenticity. Gallons of crocodile tears will be shed by the corporate media for the Uyghur Muslims while not a word will be published on US war crimes against innocent Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Fidel Castro, speaking in the Central University of Venezuela in 1999, several years after the ending of the Soviet Union, emphasised the “battle of ideas.” US propaganda, which is financed in billions, should be countered by an ideological battle.
When Francis Fukuyama celebrated the fall of the Soviet Union as “the end of history,” Fidel countered: “You tell about the failure of socialism, but where is the success of capitalism?”
This propaganda to expose capitalism has to be taken up, and hollow lectures on democracy should be deflated.