By Sikander Hayat
Is democracy really necessary for the development of a country and if that is the case than why China and Russia are surging ahead. China is set to become the 2nd largest economy of the world after United States by 2010 and Russia is no longer the weak country it was in the early 90s. Vast oil & gas revenues have changed the face of Russia in over a decade and one man who oversaw this transformation is Vladimir Putin. Putin is now serving as the prime minister of
Russia and may come back as the President of the country he once ruled with an iron fist. Mind you, he is not far from the corridors of power while being the prime minister of Russia, he still has connection with the oligarchy/establishment of the country. He chose the current president Medvedev himself and campaigned for him in the presidential elections which West regards as fraudulent and far from free.
Similarly, China in the last sixty years has surged ahead and especially in
the last twenty years or so, its development has been breath taking to say the least. On average the gross national product has increased by 10% over the last 20 years or so. China is exporting everything from a needle to high tech software all over the world. On the geopolitical front, China has made huge strides with Hong Kong & Macau back with the mother country, Taiwan isolated and United States emerging as the biggest debtor of China.
Chinese leadership does talk about the theory of peaceful rise but the established order in the West does feel threatened & intimidated hence the support of Tibetan & Uighur separatist by the West and its client states in the region like India.
My point is that hopefully one day, Russia & China will become the democratic countries but for the moment they are anything but. Still, they are developing rapidly. Their economies are booming ( although Russia
is feeling a bit of pressure due to present economic crisis but then who isn’t ) , they are getting stronger geopolitically as we saw in Georgian war. Georgia did start this war in the false confidence that it will be supported by the West but when the crunch came there was no but Georgia itself and was found wanting in front of huge Russian war machine.
China is no different, although it
is not using the weapon of war. It is using trade as the tool to attract countries under its umbrella. China Africa summits are a great way to look at the changing geopolitical landscape. China is even enticing South & Central America to its model and every country want to emulate China’s economic success showing considerable desire to do business with this country of 1.5 billion people.
There is a danger that these big players will show the world that economic success can be achieved without democracy and I leave it to my readers to suggest if this will change the way countries think about there future paths. How the world will behave where the biggest economy of the world and richest country in the world will be an undemocratic China with Russia the biggest country by area not lagging far behind.
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