This morning Iraq'i former dictator was buried in his home town. Son of the peasant tried ruthlessly to have a grip on power in a multi-religious Middle Eastern state, but failed due to the external intervention. So far so good for international community, and Iraq and and former Yugoslavia mark a definite change of the conventional interpretation of the national sovereignty in the texts of international law. So, from now on, if there are massive human rights violations other states can intervene with the approval of the UN security council. Unfortunately, the US and Great Britain failed to receive the approval of the Security Council, and the US received a massive blow to its credibility as a champion of liberal democracy.
Liberal democracy can be defined in several ways. Someone once described liberal democracy by uttering omenous words: "government of the people, by the people and for the people". The crucial fact of liberal democracies is hidden in the fact that liberal democracies should protect individual rights and not invest the power in singular bodies of government. Therefore by definition, democracies should always be weary about motives of singular leaders.
Whenever we resort to glorify singular statesmen/women be they wise, effective, smart or devoted to the good deeds, I believe we transgress the basic principle of liberal democracy - not having emphasis on singular rulers!
Liberal democracies find their roots intertwined with the roots of Judeo-Christianity. It is Judaism that prohibits exposition of the human face in their art works! The first commandment of the New Testament also proclaims that one mustn't hold another God in place of the true Lord Allmighty. I am not orthodox Christian but I also remember the maxim of Immanuel Kant, " that we may never be able to have a straight piece of wood made out of the crooked timber of humanity". It means that until we live in human communities we must be weary about motives of those fellow citizens who gospel acvhievement of common good without proper instruction and without institutional checks and balances in place.
Punishment of Saddam still vividly reminds us about what task it is for a statesmen/women to have a grip on power. From history we have Chengiz Khan, myriad of Popes, Kings, Princes, Explorers and Chieftains who had to slaughter in order to keep their power. By glorifying our past we also tend to downgrade the blood that still lays on their hands. In liberal democracies historic myths are selectively chosen so, they would not be contradictory to the society that invests its supreme power in its people or to put it another way in supremacy of human rights. For such a system to function properly comprehensive system of education is required, so not only the channels of mobility would be open according to the merits, but also people would be authomatically weary about motives of wolves in sheep skins.
Whenver elite of the society invests in glorification of singular leaders such countries neighbors should be attentive, because it is a sign of illiberal democracy. In such a system there does not exist trust of the individual but oligarchic or corporate groups instead. Who traditioanally are corporate groups that support singular leaders? They are as different as are their motives, and history teaches us also that such corporate investment in singular leaders is a zero sum game, thus a good lesson to liberal democracies.
Hitler, Lukashenka, Chavez, Aliyev, Karimov and Putin - all of them were elected democratically. All of them were supported by some corporate group, be it German idustrialists, Soviet nomenklatura, native clans or Venezuelan military officers. Latter five still clung to their power and how else to call Belarus, Russia, Venezuela, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan if not illiberal democracies?
So to end this year we may also see that at least in Eesti, Latvija and Lietuva we do not have uncritical glorification of singular leaders among political elites. However, three Baltic states border with two illibireal democracies who are hangling over gas prices right at this moment. Can we expect Belarussian anschluss and Russian border also on Lithuanian Eastern border in 2007?
May New Year bring us more liberalism!!!