Reviewing After the Neocons by Francis Fukuyama, and supporting Fukuyama's view that '"democracy" cannot be achieved by external force unless the internal conditions happen to be highly propitious', Martin Jacques writes:
The idea that western-style democracy is universally applicable in the world today is mistaken: it is a product of a desire to impose our system on cultures which are quite different and which require an indigenous form of democratic process that will often be very protracted and certainly very distinct from our own.It's not clear what exactly Jacques means by 'western-style' democracy, but we have enough experience of the variations - in democratic structures and processes - across different genuine democracies to know that there isn't a single binding model. We also know that countries can call themselves democracies when, on any reasonable definition of the term, they aren't. The German Democratic Republic and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea come to mind.
It is true, of course, that the conditions for a democracy (on a reasonable rather than purely mythical and propaganda meaning of that term) are not everywhere and always propitious. It is also true that people of democratic outlook in places already enjoying the benefits of democracy should support those yearning, and fighting, for the same benefits in countries which don't provide them. Disagreement over whether a particular war is justified is one thing (and note here in passing that, so far as Iraq was concerned, it wasn't merely not a democracy, it was one of the most murderous regimes of recent times). It is quite another thing to dismiss in advance, and in a generalized way, the possibility of so-called 'western-style' democracy for whole peoples, cultures and regions. Jacques owes his readers some account of those other types of democratic values and processes than the ones he regards as being parochially Western.