An Idea Whose Time Has Come
By Alan W. Dowd, ASCF Senior Fellow
When the Berlin Wall and Soviet Union collapsed in the span of 25 months, it seemed the conquest of tyranny itself was within reach. Political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously declared “the end of history” and predicted “the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” For a fleeting moment, that prediction seemed accurate: In 1988, there were 104 autocracies and 51 democracies in the world. By 2009, there were 100 democracies and 78 autocracies. But today, the freedom wave is receding and the autocracies are surging—“shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny,” as Freedom House grimly concludes. “Acceptance of democracy as the world’s dominant form of government—and of an international system built on democratic ideals—is under greater threat than at any point in the last 25 years,” Freedom House adds, warning that “In every region of the world, democracy is under attack.”
That’s bad news for the Free World and the cause of freedom. The good news is that the Free World is finally responding to the challenge and laying the groundwork for a truly global alliance of democracies.
Importantly, the United Nations is not suited to play this role. After all, the UN is a come-one-come-all open house—an organization where there’s no distinction between democracies and dictatorships, where the lawless are expected to respect the rule of law, where autocratic Russia, totalitarian China, Stalinist North Korea and jihadist Iran are accorded the same position as the liberal democracies of America, Britain, France, South Korea, Japan and Germany.
Moreover, when it comes to taking action to defend freedom, protect innocents or punish aggression, the UN always succumbs to lowest-common-denominator inertia. Just consider the UN’s response to Putin’s assault on democratic Georgia and occupation of democratic Ukraine; Assad’s use of chemical weapons and mass-murder of democracy activists; Hussein’s WMD program and battering of the Kurds; the Chavez-Maduro strangulation of free government in Venezuela; Milosevic’s rampage through Bosnia and Kosovo; Kim’s nuclear tests and