Syria is holding a presidential “election” today and Bashar al-Assad will win, probably with 99 percent of the “vote.”
Not even the world’s biggest political idiot will believe this is authentic, so why even bother? It’s happening because the United States is the world’s only superpower.
The international community, such as it is, expects elections to be held just about everywhere, and that’s because the United States expects elections to be held just about everywhere. Because the US is dominant, our preferences are the mainstream.
If you doubt it, ask yourself if democratic elections would be expected everywhere if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan won World War II and were to this day unreconstructed. Germany and Japan wouldn’t control every inch of the earth, but they’d certainly set the tone internationally.
And ask yourself if the international community would expect democratic elections if the Soviet Union won the Cold War. What if it was the United States that collapsed? And what if, instead of NATO’s eastward expansion, the Warsaw Pact extended all the way to Britain and France? Would elections be expected all over the world? I don’t see why they would. Countries that weren’t already invaded and conquered by Moscow or subverted by its proxies would do everything they could to avoid such a fate just as Armenia and Kazakhstan are doing right now.
In the world we live in, however, where the world’s only superpower is a liberal democracy, elections are considered the norm. Political freakshows like Moammar Qaddafi didn’t even pretend to believe in elections (he argued in his ludicrous Green Book that elections allowed 51 percent of the country to oppress 49 percent), and look at what happened to him. His regime was finally bombed into oblivion, and not by a cowboy like George W. Bush but by the dovish Barack Obama.
Even blood-soaked tyrants like Bashar al-Assad think they’ll benefit at least somewhat by pretending to adopt our political structure. Russia might even pretend to believe Syria’s election results. The Iranian regime and its state-run media will surely pretend to believe.
It does us no good at all that a monster like Assad goes through the motions of democracy. But how much fun would it be to live in a world where pleasing one or two totalitarian empires was the international standard instead?