November 13, 2012

I’M BEGINNING TO BE DISAPPOINTED IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Kofi Annan Reports: African Democracy a Sham.

For years analysts have held that democratic elections are key to spurring economic development in Africa and therefore ought to receive greater U.S. support. But the African democracy consensus is beginning to crack, and even Kofi Annan is skeptical. A new report by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), with Annan as chairman, tells us that elections often provide “a false veneer of legitimacy” for autocratic incumbents.

The report finds that elections often exacerbate underlying tribal, ethnic and religious tensions rather than guide polities into a bright, secular future. The fixation on elections as “the root of democracy” is doing little to help the downtrodden and keep the peace.

Oh, well: At least they’re above this kind of thing in enlightened Europe. Uh oh. . . .

Here’s some worrying news: A new German public opinion survey shows an uptick in “right-wing extremist” attitudes, especially in the East and especially among the young. Up to 15 percent express Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and longing for a right-wing authoritarian ruler (dare we say Leader?).

As a point of reference, that’s a little less than half the percentage that Hitler got in his best performance in a free election.

Ugh.