advice – US election tears from the seams of liberal democracy

Allegations of electoral fraud and other irregularities are usually related to Africa and so-called Third World countries. So what does this say about the United States, asks Mimi Mefo Takambou, DW.

Virtually every aspect of American foreign policy over the past decades, whether good or bad, has been dominated by two ideals: the establishment of America’s liberal order and the promotion of its democratic values.

The United States has justified its wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and its involvement in Libya by claiming that it is the referee of democratic values, who has a duty to promote and protect around the world.

The same democratic values ​​are now at stake in the US. President Donald Trump’s refusal to categorically declare that he would concede defeat if he were to lose, raises a worrying outlook for the future of liberal democracy.

US Dual Standards

The thinking and acting in that category is surely meant as the preservation of countries in Africa or parts of the world where the USA has been claiming for decades that it works relentlessly to learn ‘democratically’.

You will remember Trump’s very unflattering remarks about a number of African countries and their values. Talk about double standards. I recall, for example, that the then US Secretary of State, Heather Nauert, in 2018, after the violence in Zimbabwe, chose to point out that the election offers the country a historic opportunity to go beyond the political and economic crises of the past and to profound democratic change. ‘

Aside from questions about possible fraud and post-election violence, the US appears to be following a different trend in ‘lesser’ democracies. Whatever the outcome of the election, it will be the first time anyone over the age of 75 has occupied the White House. Should Biden win, he will be more than 80 years old when he completes his first term. Many African leaders held on to power at a time when they would retire as heads of state.

An attack on liberal principles

The US could easily fall into free fall if things went as Trump predicted and he refused to concede defeat on the grounds of fraud. However, should he emerge as the winner, the question would still remain whether he won because of the fraud he constantly committed.

The fundamentals of liberal democracies are thus seriously challenged by the US election and its aftermath, no matter how it turns out. While Africans around the world are watching the drama before their eyes, they will make an effort to understand what a true democracy is.

As is the case with many of my fellow Africans, the nature of this election left a bitter taste in my mouth.


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