US and allies fuel global erosion of democracy, analysis finds

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Recent internal attacks on democracy and human rights by the United States and many of its allies, which often present themselves as exporters of such ideals, are leading to a global erosion of democracy around the world, according to a news report. to analyse.

The New York Times analyzed an annual report released earlier this year by V-Dem, a Swedish research institute that collects data on democracy and autocratic governments around the world, finding that the United States and several of the countries it is considered as allies in recent decades have moved away considerably from functioning as democracies – with attacks on voting rights, judicial independence and media rights among the factors causing the erosion.

“Much of the world’s setback is not being forced on democracies by foreign powers, but rather is a rot that is rising within the world’s most powerful network of mostly democratic alliances.”

The United States and its allies drove “democracy scores,” according to the V-Dem report, throughout the 1990s, accounting for 9% of democratic growth globally. But over the past decade, the TimesThe analysis showed that 36% of all democratic “setbacks” occurred in the United States and countries aligned with the United States, including Turkey, Hungary and Israel.

“Much of the world’s setback is not being forced on democracies by foreign powers, but rather is a rot that is mounting within the world’s most powerful network of mostly democratic alliances,” Max Fisher wrote in Times.

V-Dem Report, titled Autocratization goes viral, highlighted the arrests of Turkish journalists for reporting on the coronavirus pandemic and the detention of “hundreds of citizens for discussing the issue on social media” as examples of democratic erosion which intensified over the year last.

“The decline in freedom of the press, academia, civil society and the increasing spread of false information in Turkey predated 2010, but has continued since, with legal restrictions to further limit the activity of the civil society and freedom of expression, ”notes the report.

The group cited an attack on the judiciary and the press in Hungary as evidence of the deterioration of democracy, “dating back to as early as 2010 when [the] The right-wing government led by Viktor Orbán and his Fidez party has enacted several media laws that severely restrict media freedom. “

The TimesThe analysis comes amid a growing assault on voting rights and elections by the Republican Party in the United States – and the failure of the Democratic Party, which controls the White House and both houses of Congress, to eliminate legislative obstruction to allow passage from afar – reach voting rights legislation.
As Common dreams reported earlier this month, the state-level congressional maps drawn by the Republican legislatures could give the party “a 13-2 advantage among representatives in the United States House,” while the takeover conservative federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have put reproductive rights in jeopardy.
The V-Dem report also highlighted the spread of disinformation the US government has “frequently engaged in” regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, with anti-science claims from the right – including the former president Donald Trump – contributing to a deep partisan divide in recent Covid-19 deaths, as Common dreams reported last week.

However, the Times pointed out, V-Dem data shows that the trend to move away from American democracy “has accelerated during [Trump’s] presidency but preceded it. “

“It would be too easy to say that all of this can be explained by Trump,” Seva Gunitsky, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, told reporters. Times.

V-Dem’s findings and media analysis have left critics of American exceptionalism and American foreign policy – including many wars that Democrats and Republicans say were aimed at “spreading democracy” – wondering how the United States would continue to claim its authority over democratic ideals.

“If the United States undermines democracy, how else will we justify the primacy of the United States? ” tweeted Dr Annelle Sheline of the Quincy Institute.

As the Times the erosion of democracy in the United States has not gone unnoticed by the world community.

“Very few people believe that American democracy is a good example for other countries to follow,” a recent study from the Pew Research Center found. On average, only 17% of people in the countries surveyed felt that American democracy was worth emulating, while 23% said it had never set a good example. American prosperity might not look so appealing anymore either, due to growing issues, such as inequality, as well as the rise of China as an alternative economic model. And awareness of America’s domestic issues – mass shootings, polarization, racial injustice – has dramatically affected perceptions.
To people all over the world, tweeted David Adler, general coordinator of the global popular movement Progressive International, it is no surprise that “we cannot count on the United States or its allies to ‘defend’ democracy in the world.”

“We need a new champion,” said Progressive International, “owned and operated by the popular forces of the world”.

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