Tag Archives: Democracy

How Race, Xenophobia Are Defining American Democracy

The following is the third in a series of articles on democracy. The first article, on the Arab Spring can be found here and the second article on the EU can be found here.

During the 1980s, despite his hawkish attitude towards the Soviet Union and his placement of US nuclear missiles in Europe, President Ronald Reagan reached agreement on the reduction of nuclear weapons with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Some historians say that Reagan’s challenge to the Soviet system was one of the reasons for the downfall of communism.

Fast forward to December 2012 where the US Senate fails to muster the two-thirds majority required for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They failed because Republicans feared the Tea Party would go against them for making deals with the UN, a “foreign power”.

It is a sad statement on the state of democracy in America today—those who claim to be Reagan’s followers have no clue as to how his legacy was developed. It is all a testament to the role race and xenophobia are playing in the political gridlock that is today’s American democracy. Continue reading

Advertisements

Is The EU Good Or Bad For Democracy?

The following is the second in a series of articles on democracy. The first article, on the Arab Spring, can be found here.

Those who believe that the European Union is bad for democracy are perhaps not taking into account all of its achievements. They need to take a closer look. Continue reading

Arab Democracy Will Take Time: That Should Not Surprise Us

The following is the first in a series of articles on democracy.

Many western observers of the Arab Spring are surprised that democracy has not taken hold in internet or social media time. It appears that they have forgotten just how long it took to establish democracy in the west. Perhaps it is necessary to explain, that despite our hopes and expectations, the Arab world cannot achieve a Renaissance, a Reformation and democracy at warp speed. That very same transformation took Europeans several hundred years.

To better understand the nature and consequences of the Arab Spring and other events in the Middle East we need to develop a better understanding of the history of democracy in the region and how it compares to what happened in Europe. Continue reading

Banks Have Arrived At A Gazpacho Moment

A few years ago, I went to a reunion of my Cass Business School MBA class. Immediately on seeing me, one of my former classmates started laughing. I was, of course, puzzled and asked him what was so funny. He apologized for his outburst but confessed that, in the past several years, he had, on several different occasions, taken great pleasure in telling some of his friends a joke about me.

I will share that joke with you. Continue reading

“No, Ma’am” (He’s Not An Arab) McCain Replied. “He’s A Decent Family Man, Citizen…”

Mitt Romney’s failure to respond to harsh attacks on Barack Obama has been criticized in the media. However, in contrasting it with John McCain’s reactions under similar circumstances four years ago, the media has revealed its own startling inadequacies.

Many people around the world, including myself, look up to the United States as a country where for the most part there is relative harmony between people of all races, religions and backgrounds. If anyone is in any doubt about this then you only have to look at the ethnic and religious tensions and conflicts in so many other places around the world. It is for this very reason, and the fact that the US trumpets its values of racial and religious tolerance, that we hold that nation to a higher standard when we look at racism.

Unfortunately, there is still much cause for concern there.

Continue reading

The Arab Conquest and Democracy: A Response to Professor Chaney on Zakaria’s GPS

Dear Professor Chaney

I am a great fan of Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN. On his program of April 8 he featured a proposition put forward by yourself, and which is also stated in his blog entry Zakaria: Explaining the Arab world’s democracy deficit as follows:

“The democracy deficit today exists in lands that were conquered by Arab armies after the death in A.D. 632 of the Prophet Muhammad”.

While very clearly stating that Islam as of itself cannot explain this deficit, the argument still focuses on things Islamic and it leaves me puzzled as to the nature of and the reasons for its omissions.   Continue reading