Talking about democracy leads to irrational and rapid polarization between those who consider themselves democratic states and others who do not claim this for themselves. Democratic states argue that they alone follow policies and practices that adhere to specific values, especially those related to democracy, the most important of which are equality, transparency and freedom in all its aspects, including freedom of expression.
In order not to leave room for ambiguity or interpretation, I note that I believe that the democratic system is the best way to reach good governance and to ensure long-term security and stability, not because it is a complete system free of defects, or because it is more efficient than central systems in facing crises, but rather because it is a system that restores evaluating itself and correcting its conditions and defects constantly, which is not achieved in the cases of central government that are less developed and enlightened and therefore stable in the long term.
This position is preferred because it out of conviction and experience, with the need to point out that not convinced of the campaigns of Western states to spread democracy for several reasons, the most important of which is that democracy must stem from the homeland itself to be a real popular choice in the form that suits each country while respecting the principles and foundations of the democratic system, as well that these campaigns have lost their credibility because the states that push for the spread of democracy do so to achieve national goals and interests and apply them with double and unstable standards and change their positions according to the situation and circumstance.
My purpose today is not to indulge in a debate between the feasibility or preference of democratic or central systems, but rather to widen the circle of discussion and call for more democracy in international relations, that is, in the dealings of states with each other, whatever their internal system, which faced opposition from major states in general, democracy or centralization without exception, because that affects its privileged status and the rights acquired over the years. None of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council supports waiving the right of veto granted to it or expanding the right to provide other members of the Council.
Developing and non-aligned countries were the first to call for the democratization of international relations. This was at the first meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 1964 when it adhered to taking decisions by a two-thirds majority to guarantee the opinion of the majority and not to give an advantage to rich and powerful states. The democratization of the international system continued to be one of the goals of states. Non-aligned since its meeting in Lusaka in 1970, and this invitation received the blessing of former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and included it in 1993 in his “Agenda for Peace” program, as well as it was one of the components of the United Nations program entitled “Agenda for Development” for the year 1994.
There are already some well-established rules and elements in international relations that reflect interest and recognition of the importance of spreading democracy in international relations, and they have been put forward and developed over the years, including “respect for state sovereignty”, “equality between states”, “peoples’ self-determination” and “distributive justice” in order to correct Any imbalance in responsibilities and practices, and perhaps the recent agreement at the Sharm el-Sheikh climate conference to establish a fund to compensate developing states for losses and damages resulting from consumer policies harmful to the environment by industrialized states is the latest application of this last principle.
Developing the international system and making it more democratic should be one of the strategic projects of developing and non-aligned states that will move in it in different ways during the year 2023. It is assumed that many mechanisms of existing international organizations should be changed to ensure equality among members. International, and the shift from the concepts of balance of power and acquired rights to the concept of balance of interest between states and peoples.
There are some basic conditions in any democratic system that must be adhered to and applied to the international framework and relations between states, such as the importance of information availability, transparency and accountability, all of which help change the culture of international relations and institutions by adhering to the necessity of providing documented evidence and information before issuing decisions.
Governing institutions in specialized international organizations are responsible for following up the faithful implementation of issued decisions, reviewing the validity of available data, achieving a better ground for evaluating decisions and enabling accountability, and there are several examples of abuses that have not been dealt with despite being addressed before the Security Council, such as the US invasion of Iraq and Western intervention in Libya, as well On several decisions in favor of the Palestinians, the Russian war on Ukraine, and the circumstances and measures that justified it, if they really constitute a violation of Russia’s security and stability.
The additional and important element that must be available and that complements the principle of accountability is ensuring a broader and fairer participation in decision-making by preserving and expanding pluralism in institutions, and bringing the rights and powers of states closer to those institutions, until we reach the stage of perfection without discrimination between them, and I believe that this Possible and available if done gradually.
For example, the membership of the UN Security Council must be expanded to include at least one permanent member state from different continents of the world and a broader representation among non-permanent members, and work must be done to abolish the right of veto or privileged voting in international institutions and replace it with the application of the rule that only a two-thirds majority must be available on important decisions or Objectivity, and as a first step, the old and new permanent states retain the right of veto for four consecutive years and forfeit this right for the next two years before regaining it again. Non-discrimination without waiting for a comprehensive and complete solution that is difficult to obtain quickly and carries with it a gradation that may be more acceptable, bearing in mind that it has been applied in various forms in other organizations.