Reclaiming Democracy and American battered Authority
By Sir Ronald Sanders
Kaieteur News – Recent events in Washington, the revered capital of the United States of America, have shaken that country’s moral authority to lecture, threaten and coerce other countries in the name of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
The scandalous scenes of Americans storming their own sacred Capitol building – the long-claimed sanctuary for democracy – were bad enough, but what preceded it was worse. A crowd, provoked into lawlessness and violence, was pitiful. What was contemptuous, were the actions of Republican Congressmen, who know better, in trying to overturn the will of the people deliberately and shamelessly to change government through a democratic process upheld by state and federal courts and by the Supreme Court itself. itself.
The sitting President of the United States, Donald Trump, urged an open crowd into lawlessness and to do exactly what they did – attacking the collection of the country’s law-making body in a determined attempt to achieve what was no less is a Choup d’etat.
The crowd – no less than terrorists – were intent on overturning the results of a legitimate Presidential election in which the Electoral College popular vote and votes confirmed that Joseph Biden Jr. had been elected President of the United States. In it, within the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill, blood was shed. Not the proverbial blood that came out of heated debate and bruised egos, but real blood, as Americans shot at Americans and killed a woman.
When similar events have occurred in other parts of the world, especially developing countries, except for those countries where the US government favors the regimes in power, the US has been quick to act with threats, sanctions, condemnation and by promoting reprimand in bodies such as the American Provincial Organization (OAS). Other governments hanging on the US coat tails have been quick to support their actions.
And yet, even as the atrocities at Capitol Hill unfolded live on television screens around the world, the Secretary General of OAS remained silent, until he was publicly pushed to speak. Hungry governments issued tame statements – none of them took the cat by calling the name of the person solely responsible for bringing the United States to this pitiful pass in the eyes of the international community.
It took the leader of the minority NDP in Canada, Jagmeet Singh, to publicly identify the offender. In a tweet, Singh declared, “The horror unfolding in Washington is frightening and motivated by Donald Trump. He can end it now but he refuses. Democracy must not be intimidated. The violence must end. ”
On the same day, the Miami Herald interviewed me for a story called, “Across Latin America and in Miami, the storming of the United States Capitol recalls chaos at home.” The focus was on the similarities between the attack on democracy and the rule of law in the United States and US action in Guyana during five months in 2020, when the US government acted to end government meddling against the will of the electorate at elections general and regional March 2020. I reproduce below a section of the Miami Herald story.
“What is happening in the United States is a complete violation of all democratic norms and also of the rule of law (by Donald Trump and elements of the Republican Party) in a leading attempt to stay in power,” Sanders said. “If that had happened in any developing country, indeed in any country in the world, the United States would have been the first to roundly condemn those people, to apply sanctions against those countries and to act in the name of human rights, democracy and civil rights. “
Last year, Sanders noted, the Trump administration issued visa sanctions against members of the Guyana government when the then country’s president David Granger refused to accept the result of the South American nation’s presidential elections and used the court system to try to reverse the vote.
“The circumstances are almost identical,” he said. “The US government applied sanctions, applied threats and claimed that democracy was in danger and demanded that parties in Guyana adhere to all, and all were right.”
“I think all those things are necessary, but you can’t apply it to other countries and not apply it to yourself. If you use a double standard, you lose the authority to tell anyone anything when they do wrong. “
That’s the result of Donald Trump’s rejection of the will of the majority of the American people that he should not return to the White House. It is also the result of the conduct of the holiness and authority of the US Congress that organized and promoted it for its selfish purposes. And it’s the result of the willingness of Republicans in Congress and the hanging governments, including in the Caribbean, that remained quiet, and intelligent, as the Trump government enforced its will in bodies like the OAS, the Inter-American Development . Bank, World Trade Organization and elsewhere, erodes international law, norms and practices.
Thankfully, the institutions of democracy and the rule of law remained strong and resilient in the US itself. Were it not for the belief and commitment of the Americans themselves – including, in the end, Vice President Mike Pence – America and the world would have been facing an unstable and disastrous future.
The world reached the brink of catastrophe on January 6 – a date described by parliament’s minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, as “one of the darkest days in recent American history.”
The hope is that Americans have learned a beneficial lesson for democracy and the rule of law in their own country, and about the importance of preserving and fostering respect, not fear, globally.
Hopefully, hung governments around the world will also have learned that standing up for principle is far more valuable than coalition bullion alliances with feet of clay.
(The author is Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador to the United States and the American Provincial Institute. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College at the University of Toronto. The views expressed are entirely his own .)
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