By Bernard Crick
No political suggestion is extra used, and misused, than that of democracy. approximately each regime this present day claims to be democratic, yet no longer all "democracies" let unfastened politics, and loose politics existed lengthy sooner than democratic franchises.
This publication is a quick account of the historical past of the doctrine and perform of democracy, from old Greece and Rome during the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices linked to it within the glossy international. It argues that democracy is an important yet no longer a enough for stable executive, and that rules of the guideline of legislations, and of human rights, may still in a few occasions restrict democratic claims.
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Additional resources for Democracy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
The ongoing critique of warmaking is a centrally important democratic activity. Let me, then, suggest two issues, raised by our most recent wars, that require the critical edge of justice. 15 T H E O R Y First, risk-free war-making. I have heard it said that this is a necessary feature of humanitarian interventions like the Kosovo war: soldiers defending humanity, in contrast to soldiers defending their own country and their fellow-citizens, will not risk their lives; or, their political leaders will not dare to ask them to risk their lives.
Who are its agents, and what rules govern their actions? As the Rwandan example suggests, most states do not want to take on this kind of responsibility, and when they do take it on, for whatever political reasons, they do not want to submit themselves to a set of moral rules. In Cambodia, the Vietnamese shut down the killing ﬁelds, which was certainly a good thing to do, 19 T H E O R Y but they then went on to set up a satellite government, keyed to their own interests, which never won legitimacy either within or outside of Cambodia and brought no closure to the country’s internal conﬂicts.
The problems have to do in part with strategic interests, as in the Vietnamese-Cambodian case. But material interests also ﬁgure in a major way: remaking a government is an expensive business; it requires a signiﬁcant commitment of resources—and the beneﬁts are largely speculative and nonmaterial. Yet we can still point to the usefulness of morality in cases like these. A successful and extended intervention brings beneﬁts of an important kind: not only gratitude and friendship, but an increment of peace and stability in a world where the insufﬁciency of both is costly—and not only to its immediate victims.