Andrew’s Idea

Andrew in North Carolina commented on the debate today and came up with this :

“I have long thought that what the world needs is a council of democracies. Only democratic governments are legitimate, and only they can speak legitimately on human rights. The council would include the obvious democratic-republics: the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Pakistan (now, but not under Musharref), Indonesia, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, South Korea, and some of the other few real democracies in Asia and Africa.

China and Russia would be excluded until they make much more progress in real democratic institutions (independent judiciaries, free elections, etc.). This council could make decisions more easily w/out the roadblock of the anti-democratic nations represented in the U.N.”

Now, get arguing….

39 Responses to “Andrew’s Idea”

  1. 1 Mark Sandell
    September 23, 2009 at 19:14

    Ryan in Alberta posted :

    The comment that Andrew in Carolina made, is just non-sense. This is the problem at the moment, that there are just too many people that are closed minded. What the heck could this democratic council get done when both Russia and China (which cover almost 20% of the worlds land mass) are not included.

  2. 2 gary
    September 23, 2009 at 20:19

    True solutions are inclusive. Exclusion as a prerequisite for discussions does not generate a solution. A particular form of government merely specifies (covertly or overtly) the selection rules by which governance and transfer of powers occur. All humanity needs an answer, so discussions by groups selected solely upon a basis of their specific incorporation rules just will not work. Means must be found to communicate with the reluctant nations. The fact is as unpleasant as it is true. There isn’t an ivory tower in which one segment of humanity can securely hide from another. So, when conversations fail, it’s everyone’s fault. And, we all need them not to fail…

  3. September 23, 2009 at 21:04

    So what are the criteria to say who is democratic enough? Who is in charge of maintaining and updating the criteria and evaluating candidates who say they are democracies? I suppose that authority might then be considered a dictator if they have the power to make the rules and decide who qualifies.

  4. 4 Jim Newman
    September 23, 2009 at 21:37

    Hello again
    And anyway all of the countries on Andrews list are at best oligarchies and most are simply elected dictatorships.

  5. 5 Josiah Soap
    September 23, 2009 at 22:04

    I agree with the former poster utter nonsense. Andrews idea reeks of big brother control. Lets have no council and no UN and let individual countries decide their laws whether they be “right” for humans or not. We are brainwashed into thinking that free countries have democracies while other “non-free” countries have dictators. Not so. In the western world democracy basically means you can (realistically) choose between a small number of parties i.e. you can vote for coke or vote for pepsi. Underneath there really is little difference, they get their backing from big business and the media. Any smaller parties don’t have these luxuries and don’t get a look in. Sure you can vote for them for what its worth. Any party that doesn’t preach the run of the mill human rights will be lambasted. Look at the British National Party. Despite being a legal party it is constantly portrayed as a Nazi party and in certain professions you are not even allowed to be a member, so much for democracy! In reality democracy is an illusion, we have less and less control over our lives and more and more decisions made for us by big Government. EU, Canada and soon to be USA have hate speech laws, -you are not even allowed to express an opinion, how then is democracy any better?

  6. 6 vijay pillai
    September 23, 2009 at 22:10

    What a foolish comment to say democracies should be based on land area. There are democracies like singapore with less than 400 sq miles in area and leaa than5 million population emerged from being developing country i 1965 to a developed and very rich nations today. democracy is also should not include coutries with power vested in presidntial sytsem wihich abuse the democatic mandate to sunjugate minorities and abuse or kill journalists and so on.

  7. 7 Nigel
    September 23, 2009 at 23:20

    Nothing to talk about. This is rubbish starting with the single dimensioned assumption that “only democratic governments are legitimate.” What about Hamas??

  8. 8 leo goki,Nigeria
    September 23, 2009 at 23:36

    I wish Adrews idea could work it would really force those tyranical governments with no regard for human rights to bukkleup or be left out in the cold………. and Mark why are u so pessimistic we need people with new visionary ideas like Andrew to take charge of world affairs because the present method and direction is not working.

      September 24, 2009 at 12:55

      @leo goki

      Andrews idea goes back to 1940. Most what he is talking about is what was established and then abused countries which set down the rules. By the way, democracy is a good system and I agree totally. The only problem with it is that it contains so many loopholes through which it is hijacked by anyone with petty cash. Its never safe long enough.

  9. 10 Kindi Jallow
    September 24, 2009 at 00:40

    Well it is a sound idea we need a new world order that would restore confidence and bring geniun democracy to the people. If China and Russia tramples on freedom and human rights of its people never mind their size, ‘it is small strocks that fell great okes oaks’. How can you be a referee at the same time a player?

  10. 11 T
    September 24, 2009 at 01:57

    I disgaree for this reason. Many of the countries that he listed aren’t really democracies. I’ll spare you the Ron Paul-burn-down-the-Fed line of reasoning. Instead, look at many things that these govts. do. And ask the question: are they really democracies?

  11. 12 BalamH
    September 24, 2009 at 03:16

    Mexico? A democracy?


    So because you (or whoever) decides that Mexico is a democracy then we get in that council, right? Well, let me tell you, us mexicans seriously doubt that we live in a democratic country

    Anyway, what a silly and naive idea you have.

    What we need is 2 things:

    1. That colonialist contries like yours let other regions decide how they want to run things, wether its a democracy, a dictatorship, a communist regime or whatever. After all, people have the government they deserve. Who are you to be deciding for them, arguing that you are helping them when in reality you are just after their natural and human resources?

    2. That people all over the world become educated enough to truly live and sustain a democratic society. And it is not the case in most countries. Particularly here in Mexico.

  12. September 24, 2009 at 04:42

    that democratic council would only make sense, if it had such powers and institutions like the UN. and if it had any, you’d had to take them away from the UN to let it work properly. therefor, the UN security council would have no more power… and then China and Russia would be astray without any influence of the other security council members.

  13. 14 scmehta
    September 24, 2009 at 07:22

    You mean to say that the non-democratic countries are not legitimate! Even if you have been driven by the concept of the governments “of the people, by the people, for the people”, you cannot dispute the representation of the other countries once they have been recognized by the UN, because, besides being illegal, that would also tantamount to denying millions of people of their right to interact with the world on a common platform and be heard.

  14. 15 Saad Baloch, Pakistan occupied Balochistan
    September 24, 2009 at 08:52

    Pakistan is democratic country. HAHAHA. Its joke. Pakistan has dictatorship under the label of democracy. Pakistan has never been democratic country since its inception. Excluding China, adding Pakistan is funny enough. Pakistan should be excluded too. Well this is good thought as it might pave way to solve the combine problems of world using collective resources and energy.

  15. 16 VictorK
    September 24, 2009 at 10:22

    *That’s an interesting idea.
    *As presently constituted the UN doesn’t make a lot of sense. Many, perhaps most, of its members are, as Andrew stated, unfit to offer a view on subjects like human rights, democracy, asylum, etc. It’s largely funded by Western governments, especially the US. Effective peace-keeping operations are likewise the preserve of Western armies. China may be a superpower but it brings nothing of value to the ideals the UN is supposed to stand for.
    *I’d much rather see states co-operating on the basis of regional & cultural blocs, and those blocs working together on matters of inter-regional/global significance – e.g. (a) Europe, Australia, N. Zealand, Israel & North America, (b) Latin America & the Caribbean, (c) China, Burma & N. Korea, (d) Russia & its satellites, (e) sub-Saharan Africa, (f) the Muslim world, and (g) Japan, Thailand, Vietnam & South Korea.
    *It’d be an improvement on the present collection of the ineffectual, the incompatible, & the horrific laughably called the United Nations.

  16. 17 Roberto
    September 24, 2009 at 11:08

    RE ” Only democratic governments are legitimate “”

    ———- Oh dear, Andrew lists Mexico and Pakistan as legitimate democracies?

    Small wonder then that democracies are circling the drain as Russia and China are gaining strength. Democracies are choking on the supporters of each party in the US producing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ads “proving” their opponents are crooks, which when taken as a whole would indict the whole system.

    26 trillion dollars lost in the global financial meltdown thanks to fraudulent US credit default swaps and other ponzi schemes enabled by the US democracy and this the “legitimate” global democratic leader?

    Maybe someone needs to hold Andrews hand and explain it was the US that has empowered China with it’s stupendous economic might and they won’t just go away because Andrew wants to ignore them.

  17. September 24, 2009 at 11:11

    Salaam guys,
    Salaam dear Andrew… Has it ever occurred to you that ”1st class democracies” that you’re talking about can sometimes commit some pretty serious human rights violations against other people and nations, even sometimes mounting to the description of ”war crimes” ?! Now, the question is this : Who’s gonna bring those ”1st class democracies” into justice ?! Thanks a million for your idea though, and if your union ever gets to see the light, I’d love to see Mr Obama as its chief, I mean let’s face it, the guy is cute !!! ;);)…
    And by the way dear Nigel, in addition to the democratically elected government of Hamas, I do believe that both my Iraq and Lebanon should be on the list too, I mean both countries are democracies eh ?! ;)… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad….

  18. 19 patti in cape coral
    September 24, 2009 at 12:48

    I agree that starting off by deciding who you are going to exclude doesn’t sound like a solution, and definitely starts divisiveness right at the outset.

    p.s. @Lubna- LOL, Mr. Obama is nice to look at, isn’t he?

  19. September 24, 2009 at 14:27

    @Andrew,I bet Russia and China will be thrilled to bits with that suggestion.

  20. 22 Roy, Washington DC
    September 24, 2009 at 14:33

    Who are we to say that “Only democratic governments are legitimate”? If a particular form of goverment works for a country, how is it any less legitimate than ours?

  21. 23 Jennifer
    September 24, 2009 at 14:35

    I think Andrew may have a somewhat good idea. A few governments that he mentioned I don’t think are legitimate. Maybe some other criteria would also be applicable because Hamas was democratically elected.

    On the topic of inclusion being democratic vs. exclusion. I watched Muammar al Qaddafi’s speech yesterday. How could you include a government, like his, which has very little desire to move forward towards better understanding and relations. Didn’t he link JFK’s assassination to Israel? Thankfully, he did say that Obama was “his son” and he wanted him to be our President forever. No. That’s not “democratic”; essentially having a monarchy…… It would be regression for the U.S.A.

    When you support Terrorism; you are not democratic!

    I have a plan that would create peace in the Middle East. I should think of one for the U. N. too.

  22. 24 patti in cape coral
    September 24, 2009 at 15:03

    @ Jennifer – Let’s hear your plan!

  23. 25 patti in cape coral
    September 24, 2009 at 15:03

    p.s. Not being sarcastic, really want to hear what your plan is.

  24. 26 Jennifer
    September 24, 2009 at 15:30


    Sure, but I have to think of it first. 🙂

  25. 27 Saad Baloch, Pakistan occupied Balochistan
    September 24, 2009 at 15:46

    Is this council for peace in middle east. Well what is the reason of unrest in middle east . isn’t is american interference and wrong demarcation of boarders. If these two problems are solved out, much needed peace in middle east can be created.Otherwise we should forget about peace in middle east and just go fishing.

  26. 28 viola
    September 24, 2009 at 16:33

    There are all kinds of organizations in the world and new ones springing up all the time, so why not one more, democracies as a bloc in the same sense the European Union is a bloc? As with all organizations, if it isn’t good enough to receive support from its member nations, it would be disbanded or end up being “much ado about nothing.”

    On the other hand, should we create more jobs for more bureaucrats who will ensure their jobs by creating fear of the consequences should it be asked to disband or, more ominously, themselves create the crises that would require them to “fix” them.

  27. 29 nora
    September 24, 2009 at 16:44

    First off, thanks to Andrew for trying to come up with a solution rather than knock someone else down. That is the first step. Perhaps if the governments mentioned met to perfect democracy through honest discussion of their own failures they would spend less time setting up dictatorships and overthrowing the governments of smaller democracies; sadly part of recent history. We have just gone through a period of losing rights in the name of homeland security so I don’t feel we have great moral superiority here.

  28. 30 Nengak Daniel (Abuja, Nigeria)
    September 24, 2009 at 16:45

    Hi Andrew,
    Very funny! What do you mean when you say ‘democracy’? One party? Two parties? Fifty parties? And by what indices are China and Russia disqualified while India and Pakistan are retained?

    I bet you think Gambia is democratic? Well you have to spend one million years sorting out which country is democratic and which isn’t and then you come to why you have proposed a council of democracies (not of monarchies or autocracies, for example) before you begin the discussion.

    I think Andy’s idea is good, but it is also funny.

  29. 31 Tom D Ford
    September 24, 2009 at 17:13

    Democracies are corruptible, accepting them as the only good form of government would be unwise.

    Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a democracy, Iran is one, examples exist around the world of nations that embrace the look of democracy but are not just. Bush even corrupted our US democracy in the Bush v Gore election by corrupting the US Supreme Court under Rehnquist.

    Let’s make a list of what makes a just government and make all governments include that list.

    International politics have come up with many things that ought to be included on the list, The Nuremberg Trials, the Geneva conventions, Human Rights, The Rights of a Child. Look at all nations to see what is effective and adopt those in our list.

    Look at businesses and change them to more just ways of commerce.

    The old ways of negative psychology type top down governments ruling through fear and intimidation needs to change to positive psychology types that bring out the best in people.

  30. 32 John in Salem
    September 24, 2009 at 17:28

    Utopian ideas of world order only work in cheesy sci-fi movie scripts. Human beings are not the “Noble Savage” of Rousseau nor simply the murdering ape of Ardrey’s “Territorial Imperative”. Every culture is as unique as every individual and in today’s world the best we can hope for are commonly agreed rules of participation, a willingness to keep an open mind and to err on the side of compassion.
    Unless, of course, we’re attacked by aliens, in which case all bets are off.

  31. 33 Tom D Ford
    September 24, 2009 at 17:59

    I just read a book review in Scientific American mag about “The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society” by Frans de Waal. It’s about how our current “red in tooth and claw” attitudes are proved wrong by how so many animals actually cooperate and help their fellow animals when injured or in need, giving each a share of the food.

    I’ll read the book, but it is immediately obvious to me that we humans need to change our attitudes about how we treat each other. “red in tooth and claw” is outdated and needs to be thrown out.

    Many animals practice what the great teacher Jesus taught in “even as you treat the least of these…”. Isn’t it time that we humans at least rise to the level of the animals which cooperate and take care of their fellows?

    I think we ought to change our governments to reflect this new understanding of nature, because we are all humans and we are better off cooperating than competing with each other in the basics of life.

  32. 34 Tom D Ford
    September 24, 2009 at 18:12

    Two things that I think are basic requirements for good and just governments are universal education for literacy and I would also train all children, boys and girls, from an early age in how to use guns properly to protect themselves and prevent bad people from taking over legitimate governments or doing unscrupulous business, and very importantly, when not to use guns.

    I like the US Marine Corps idea that every Marine is a rifleman and I would extend that idea to all people in the world.

    I tend to like Andrews idea of of going towards democracy but how do we make it a legitimate reality? How do we achieve real governments of, by, and for the people?

  33. 35 Tom K in Mpls
    September 24, 2009 at 18:28

    I would like to point out that there is no proof that democracy is they only government that works. IMO, it is currently the best. But as things change, new things need to be tested. The UN is currently the best forum for nations to use to test, try and enforce agreed to issues. And the issues will change as the world changes.

  34. 36 Ibrahim in UK
    September 24, 2009 at 19:15

    The world doesn’t work properly and Andrew is suggesting a solution.
    Looking to democracies is a good place to start since they are at the very least accountable to the people (in theory). Unfortunately, that has proven not to be sufficient since existing democracies are corrupted by entrenched lobby groups and corporate dependencies, and are still capable of Abu Ghraibs, Guantanamos and Bagrams.

    I don’t think there’s any “right” formula that will solve the problems. The problem is mankind. We may have good intentions, but we don’t have all the facts nor are we always clever, moral or strong enough to make the right choice/compromise. In the end, we collectively have the government we deserve. The investment should be in ourselves by arming ourselves with education, wisdom and patience/perserverance to liberate ourselves from the darkness of those who want to control us for their own ends. Be free and teach others how to be free.
    Reading it back, it sounds religious, but without the truth, we are slaves to other people’s lies.

  35. September 26, 2009 at 12:29

    Andrew, with all due respect, pipe dreams are two-a-penny and require a tobacco pleasing to the nostrils.

  36. 38 Mia
    September 26, 2009 at 17:54

    The US is only barely a democracy and Russia is the same. Yes, you Americans, they do hold elections in Russia as well! Don’t know about Israel, I think they deny non-jewish citizens voting rights.

    Much better then if we could manage global elections on some fundamental issues. If it was done by fingerprint all we’d have to do was have a program to check noone voted twice. With special dispensations for identical twins I guess. This is of course a utopia.

    As it is why not just put more effort into the UN?

  37. September 27, 2009 at 07:14

    I have concerns about democracies annointing themselves the arbiters of what constitutes good governance and the best choices for a country’s peoples. I think ours in the US works reasonably well, but it is certainly not without its flaws. The ability to seek to influence pulic opinion in our “free world” by spin control and massive investment by special interest groups with patently partisan tilts erodes the transparency of our form of represntative government, and makes the representative nature of our legislative branch suspect (at least in so far as it purports to represent the will of the people rather than that of big business and deep pockets).

    Andrew, keep working on the idea. It needs to be more inclusive, however, and it must recognize that forms of government that do not qualify as democracies may still be representative to the extent that the ruling party realizes and serves the needs of the people. Find one or two of those, and you are on the right track.

    Similarly, realize tht what constitutes a democratic form of government may simply be tyranny clothed in “free” election.

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