Never-ending wars, turmoil, civil wars, invasions and coups, systematic human rights violations, imprisonment and torture… These are scenes we have become quite accustomed to seeing in the Middle East.
Recall and visualize the images we have come across on television in the last decade from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, and Turkey. A while back, one of my friends, who is well-versed in irony, had said, “Just look at the images reflected on our TV sets! Then look at the images projecting the political or social life in the U.S. and Europe. They have no action, no blood, no fighting, no violence to show. The only newsworthy events they have are of people playing golf, high-society tabloids, etc.”
My dear friend, who was perturbed by our own region’s fate while comparing these two pictures, was aware of the role played in the formation of this fate by those whose prosperous and comfortable lives were being projected onto the screens. Is there anybody who remains ignorant of the fact that the U.S. sometimes imposes “creative,” and sometimes solely “sustainable chaos” orders on the Middle East and around the world, in order to maintain its own economic welfare? Could the conflicts and the instability in this region be a result solely of the will, the quarrelsomeness, and disputes of the people living in this region? Had these nations, which have coexisted for centuries, waited until this moment to spring into deep conflicts?
There is no doubt that the vast majority of these images are the outcomes of the manner in which the U.S. and Europe direct this region. The claim that the U.S. is trying to institute democracy in the Middle East or anywhere in the world is nothing but poppycock. Even the U.S. itself does not believe in this. On the contrary, sometimes all it does through this excuse is to nip any likelihood of democratic development right in the bud. Otherwise, the U.S. or the EU would have great difficulty to control countries under democratic rule.
I have been wanting to ask my friend for his take on things for a while now. The latest events in the U.S. led by Donald Trump are not far from the developments in any Middle Eastern country. As the country’s democratic traditions and practices are shattered, the events taking place daily reveal that there is not much of a rift between democracy and authoritarianism in a country that has been considered the “cradle of democracy.”
In contrast to the chaos in both the U.S. and Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey’s handling of the matter completely changed everything.
Finally, the raid on Congress upon Donald Trump’s provocation by his fierce supporters on the night members would certify Joe Biden’s presidency, claiming election fraud and that he does not accept the election results was one for the books. It is unknown if something like this could ever happen again. However, it is certain that this event signals a serious fracture deep within U.S. society. It is also quite clear that the event cannot be reduced simply to Trump’s personal traits, and his exceptional personality, short from internalizing the U.S.’s democratic practices. The masses, capable of such extraordinary action with one word from Trump, indicate a much deeper fracture.
The first biggest prejudice concerning Trump is that his exceptional personality, unpredictable attitude and behavior have no serious support in the U.S., and that as an accidentally elected president, he may have rapidly lost his support. The most important factor backing this prejudice was the public opinion polls, and the openly anti-Trump sentiment displayed by the majority of figures in media and art, as well as celebrities.
Yet there is also a sort of silent majority against this stance, and Trump, despite whether the values he represents are good or bad, is the voice of this majority. Even in the election he lost, he has managed to garner the votes of 75 million unrepresented, quiet, but furious people in the media, art, and business arenas. It is not hard to guess that these votes will be a huge pain in the neck for the next U.S. administration.
These masses demand a change in U.S. society, and it is going to be extremely difficult for President-elect Joe Biden, who is almost 80 years old, and his administration to meet these demands for change. However, if these demands are met, there will be nothing left of the U.S.’s democratic values. In either case, the U.S. is being driven into a dead-end.
Supporting dictators around the world while strengthening democracy at home had to backfire one day – and it did. In the current state, U.S. democracy is not only incredibly difficult to maintain, but it is also increasingly fragile and under threat.
This is truly an unfortunate and concerning development for the U.S. However, it must be even more upsetting and thought-provoking that this concern was not upheld in most parts of the world and, as a matter of fact, that people followed these developments like a movie unfolding, hoping for things to get worse.
Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush Jr. had thought of asking, “Why do they hate us?” Though it was a question he asked without duly seeking the answer; upon this event, Biden should come into office seeking an answer to this question: “Why is it that others were not so upset about a disaster that poses a threat to U.S. democracy?”