The 1945 Nationalists leaders in Southeast Asia believed in Democracy
Over years, the debate on democracy in good number of Southeast Asian countries has raised endless controversy and confusion among the region nationalists’ leaders. In the late 1945, the Southeast Asian nationalists’ leaders demonstrate their interests in embracing the democratic principles in the region. However, despite a concerted effort to attain their dreams, their endeavours faced endless challenges from different quarters.
The introduction of democracy faced a setback from the existing perception regarding democracy. Many of the Southeast Asian elites believed that democracy denies citizens their basic fundamental rights by granting few individual powers to manage the affairs of the entire nation. For instance, a good number of political elites in Taiwan, Philippines, and Thailand argued that democracy would result to dictatorship in their countries. Although, the nationalists’ leaders engaged in detailed and systematic campaigns that aimed at educating community members on the importance of democracy, they failed to influence some elites on the direct benefit of democracy to the region’s development.
Moreover, in the late 1945, the Southeast Asian region had a perplexing juxtaposition on democracy. Some individuals held the perception that democracy would undermine their social and cultural belief. For example, some of the South Korean and Taiwan leaders believed that democracy would accelerate inequality and unfair distribution of the available resources. Individual who demonstrated their reservation on the adoption of democratic principles in Southeast Asian further argued that democratic principles led to political conflict in some Western countries. Therefore, the adoption of democratic governance systems would have detrimental impacts on the existing peace and unity in the region.
The adoption of democracy in Southeast Asian also encountered a delay in 1945 because of the existing conflict between the Western powers and some countries in the Asian continents. The fight against colonialism played a critical role in painting negative image on democracy among the Southeast Asian population. Many of Asian residents believed that democracy is mainly characterised by violation of human rights and endless nepotisms. As a result, the some of the beliefs and perceptions held by Southeast Asian populations on democracy system undermined the nationalistic leaders’ attempt to embrace democracy in the region.
The existence of a stable and productive authoritarianism in a many Southeast Asian countries was also a challenge to democracy. Similar to a good number of the Islamic world, Southeast Asian countries believed that democracy is a Western ideology that aimed at accelerating capitalism. In the early 1945, the idea of democracy was also a new terminology among the Asian population. In their argument, the opponents of democracy observed that a democratic society has continuous challenges in the society such as slow economic development, corruption scandals, disputed election conflicts, and partisan gridlock. Moreover, developed countries such as China, Malaysia, and Singapore argued that their semi-authoritarian and authoritarian regime has the ability of dealing with challenges brought about by new economy, diverse interest, and complex economic demands. The integration and stability of the authoritarian regimes were also great setbacks to the nationalist leaders attempt to include democracy in Southeast Asian region. As opposed to a democratic regime in Western countries, the authoritarian system led to economic growth and political stability in Southeast Asian.
Consequently, although the Southeast Asian nationalists’ leaders had the passion of introducing democracy in their region, the idea encountered numerous resistances from some leaders and community members. Some of the beliefs and perceptions held by the region’s population regarding democracy were specifically the major hindrances to the adoption of democracy in 1945. However, democracy is still the most effective system of facilitating systematic economic, political, and social progress in the region.
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