Fearful Futures: Rescuing Asian Democracy

The wave of democratisation in post-Cold War decades, globalisation is often understood as the triumph of the international liberal order over the socialist model of political economy. Wealth creation through capitalism and political liberalisation (or democratisation) are supposed to go hand in hand, and at the end of the road history is supposed to ‘end’ with the proliferation of liberal democracies. This Western-centric idea of where the world should be headed, based on the notion that liberal values are universal, is buttressed by the institutions, norms, rules and regulations of Western design that bind international politics today. Yet, at the same time, issues of identity, culture and values have emerged in this discourse between the West (broadly defined) and Asia as an area of negotiation, if not outright contestation, in the course of a more complex and intense intercourse between the West that tries to assist democratisation and market economy in other parts of the world and the "post-colonial" rest, many of whose democratic foundations are challenged by the necessity of further (and sustainable) economic development or under threat from the return of authoritarianism. China's growing influence through its aggressive development aid policies (such as the Belt & Road Initiative and AIIB) is a relatively new challenge to nurturing democratic movements. What would be a meaningful dialogue and mode of engagement between "the West and the rest" in order to rescue democracy from its multifaceted perils of a changing world under globalisation?

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Posted by IAFOR