Question 1: The Rise of Japanese Democracy
Japan stands out as one of the nations that have a thriving democracy in the East Asia. Just before the end of the Second World War II, Japan was only a formative democracy just like it is the case with most Middle East countries at the moment. However, following the writing of a new constitution in the year 1947, Japan transformed into a constitutional democracy. The building of democracy in Japan has been achieved through a combination of factors. First, Japan is an ethnically heterogeneous nation which enables for accommodation of other people’s views, a key facet of democracy. The country boasts of a rich history of tolerance coupled with respect of other people’s religious views, cultures and ideas. Japan’s democracy is distinctively different from the British and the US brand of democracy. For one, the constitution in Japan as drafted has not been amended owing to its rigidity in contrast to the United States and Britain which have since amended their constitutions. More so, Japan has been dominated by one party for over half a century unlike the other nations in Europe and America. The political system in Japan is a construct which dates to the nation’s defeat in the Second World War and the subsequent occupation by the US. Essentially, Japan’s constitution is an anti-military document which renounces the waging of war and the operation of the armed forces. I do believe that it is the increase in democratic capacity and space in Japan that has led to its economic success. It is instructive to note that the nation had no impressive economic growth before the initiation of democracy. Democratization in Japan has led to more political, economic and social freedom among its people. Through this shift to an economic model which is free, characterized by investment by government, reduction in tax and a balanced budget, Japan has been able to exploit its huge economic potential.
Krauss, E. S., & Pekkanen, R. J. (2010). The Rise and Fall of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party. Journal of Asian Studies, 5-15.
Question 2: Fear and Insecurity in Mexico
The political party system currently subsistent in Mexico has led to a reduction in the level of corruption in government. It may be the case that some form of corruption does happen in the parties. However, this portends a clear break from the past in the 1980s when the authoritarian regime was in power. In the 1980s, Mexico had one dominant political party named PRI which was characterized by informal and constitutional powers of the president and subservient legislature and judiciary fuelled corruption in government. In this system, the government exercised corporatist controls thus subjugating the rule of law and setting down a spirit of lack of accountability. The political party system as in modern day has opened up the democratic space and thereby contributed to a reduction in levels of corruption. Drug cartels pose a risk to the security of the Mexican people as well as to their politicians and leaders. Nonetheless, the current political and social culture in Mexico has led to an increase in the level of security. Following several economic crises in the nation, people have been more engaged in the affairs of the country to ensure elections are democratic. Indeed, voters have even gone to the most dangerous parts of the nation to cast their vote and deny those perceived to be linked to drug cartel of a chance to political office. This culture by individual Mexican people has the effect of ensuring that those associated with the drug cartels do not occupy powerful positions so as to ensure the continued survival of the illicit drug economy. The illicit drug economy compromises the system of government as it buys some of the leaders to ensure that they are protected. A number of leaders and candidates have been threatened and killed by drug cartels. This illicit trade robs the nation of much needed capital .
Morris, S. D. (2009). Political Corruption in Mexico: The Impact of Democratization. Boulder,CO: Lynne Rienne Publishers.
Question 3: Brazilian Environment
Forty two percent of Brazil is covered by rainforests which acts as a home to millions of Brazilians. However, the country has suffered from an increasing rate of deforestation in the past in effect reducing the application of appropriate measures. One example of a rainforest that is on the verge of extinction is the Atlantic forest of Brazil which has been cleared to give way for farming and ranching. It is also the case that Brazil stands as the second largest producer of ethanol in the world. This enables the nation to provide for its economic needs whilst at the same time depleting its key resources. The continued production of ethanol is dependent on the constant supply of energy which hails from biofuels. However, this is in conflict with the aim to reduce deforestation which contributes to the destruction of the rainforests. The interest groups driving this campaign must be in the payrolls of businessmen who want to make profits. They have ganged up against environmentalists keen on sustainable environmental management. Brazil may attempt to promote a minimal use and production of ethanol and reliance on other forms of energy rather than biofuel if it is to reconcile the conflicting environmental policies.
Leite, A. (2009). Energy in Brazil: Towards a Renewable Energy Dominated System. Rio De Jadiniero: Earthscan.
Question 4: Iranian Theocracy
Several academicians and scholars have cast Iran as a theocracy owing to its Islamic law which applies to a certain degree in the country. Theocracy is a form of government where the leader is believed to be divine or an emissary from God and whose words are law. Though it cannot be said to be entirely true, it may well be said that Iran is majorly a theocracy. A few illustrations will suffice. In the run-up to the elections held in June 2013, there was an attempt to ensure that leaders who were not loyal to the spiritual supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei did not run for President. A total of 686 nominees were disqualified from running leaving only 8.On the other hand, loyalists of Khamenei have criticized the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for what they deemed to be sinful conduct where Ahmadinejad hugged Hugo Chavez’s mother during a funeral. Without doubt, there has been an excommunication of persons that do not follow the Islamic religion from political elitists. This ensures that the leaders that rise into office are those who have very little impetus or reason for challenging the religious establishment in the nation. As such, the nation may be described as a theocracy.
Hirschl, R. (2010). Constitutional Theocracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Question 5: Nigerian Democracy
Democracy in developing nations such as Nigeria and other African countries can surely be achieved. However, it is critical to realize that developing nations face a myriad of problems that are not necessarily an issue in developed nations. These nations suffer from endemic corruption even from the ruling elite and an uninformed populace who are vulnerable to manipulation. This has the effect of hampering the achievement of democracy as the popular will of the people is often subverted by the elites. A number of challenges beset Nigeria as a nation in its quest to establish and settle as a democracy. Since the end of the military rule in the year 1999, Nigeria has embraced democracy which is yet to be fully realized. Endemic corruption continues to ravage the nation as has cronyism and the misrule by the military. Religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims have not made the achievement of democracy any easier. Other challenges include the absence of institutions that are critical for the establishment of democratic governance such as the courts . Further, the nation is a multi-ethnic nation with varying and several interest groups each agitating for their interests. It is the case that the many ethnic groups and interest groups in Nigeria do hinder the performance of the indigenous government.
Ogundiya, I. (2010). Corruption: The Bane of Democratic Stability in Nigeria. Current Res. J. Soc. Sci, 60-67.