The present world order is based on the sovereignty and equality of states. This means that state A deals with state B regardless of how they deal with their citizens, because that is their sovereign prerogative. The only exception is if they start war or commit crimes against humanity. However, if they want to be a brutal dictatorship in which the leaders take all resources and leave the people in misery, that is their business. Why should we care?
There are several reasons to care. First, it affects us economically. Second, it’s a moral problem. But most importantly, it has turned out to be a huge security problem.
After the end of the Cold War, a new feature in global relations has appeared: The franchise of quisling regimes that come to power through outside help, election fraud either through corruption, illegal campaign contributions, or outright ballot stuffing, vote rigging, or electronic election fraud. Once in power they corrupt the system to perpetuate themselves in power. If necessary they change the constitution to allow their own reelection. The intelligence to enable this in Latin America comes from Cuba, and the military muscle comes from Iran and Russia, with a little help from Belarus. The economic muscle comes from China.
Until now this disease has been limited to Latin America, a continent that USA and Europe ignores at their own peril. However, now this “political ebola” has reached Spain. A populist party that is a carbon copy of the one in Venezuela is raising the possibility that the virus could spread to a new continent. As a side effect, these “zombie democracies” are now in majority in the Organization of American States, and have effectively destroyed that “immune system” of American democracy.
How is this possible? It’s possible because states deal with states, without much concern for the nature of that state. It’s as if the world body doesn’t have an immune system that detects the virus, and allows it in without concern for the DNA inside the virus. How could a body do this differently? Simply by analyzing the DNA and treating the virus differently depending on its DNA.
How does this translate to international relations? We could imagine the outside of the virus as the paraphernalia of a foreign state, while the DNA of that state corresponds to its Democracy, Non-interference, and Accountability (DNA). A country with bad DNA should be isolated. This means isolating first and foremost Cuba and Russia, because they are not democracies, they have no accountability, and they are interfering with other countries, establishing quisling regimes in them.
This network of quisling regimes, whose leaders sold his soul to the devil, electoral dictatorships that depend on the Cuban security service G-2 for their hold on power, includes Bolivarian Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, Ecuador under Rafael Correa, Bolivia under Evo Morales, Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega, Argentina under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and probably by now also Brazil under Dilma Roussef. Several other countries are possibly in the same category, but it’s not an easy thing to determine without a close examination. What is for sure is that most countries in Latin America are in immediate, yes immediate risk of falling into the zombie democracy category. And now also Spain.
This zombie democracy franchise is not new in itself. It was the dominating feature of European politics in the 1930’s. It’s not about socialism or fascism, it’s not about right or left; it’s about right and wrong, about democracy or dictatorship. Populism is anti-democratic, and it paints itself in any color as long as it is a popular color at that time and place. If the impopular government was leftist, the populist wave becomes fascist. If the impopular government was rightist, the populist wave becomes communist. But there is no difference between them, as evidenced by the fact that both Mussolini and Hitler started on the left and finished on the right.
What can the world do?
The infected nations should be isolated, like one isolates a patient sick in ebola. The concern should be with the people of foreign nations, not with their governments. There has to be a test: Does the government represent the people? If it doesn’t, treat them like Pariah.
Today the test is if the government is “legitimate”. What we need to do is to redefine what “legitimate” means. We also need to vigorously investigate the legitimacy of the democratic process in other countries. Those nations that deny access for such scrutiny should automatically be labeled undemocratic, and be treated as Pariah.
The most important practical effects of being an international Pariah shall be the requirement of visa for any visit to a democracy, and strict supervision of economical transactions to prevent the purchase of quisling candidates. This political ebola must be stopped, while there are still democracies around who can do it. This new world order places people first, not governments.