19 June 2019   Leave a comment

The Pew Research Center has released the results of a poll in 27 countries in 2018 on levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with democracy. The results are consistent with many specific examples of a more general loss of faith in democratic institutions. The results of the poll indicate that the state of the economy and perceived levels of corruption were the most important determinants of this loss of faith:

” And majorities in seven of the 12 countries most dissatisfied with democracy said that in their country, no matter who wins an election, things do not change very much. Skepticism in elections’ ability to change things ran highest among Greeks – 82% of whom doubted their elections led to much change – and was also common in Tunisia (67%), the UK (65%), Japan (62%) and South Africa (61%).

Between 2017 and 2018, dissatisfaction with democracy grew in 14 of the 27 countries surveyed, with the largest increases in India and Germany – as well as Brazil, where two-thirds of the public already had a negative view in 2017.”

This loss of legitimacy is deeply troubling since it suggests that many people are willing to give up their rights as citizens in order to secure what they regard as necessary change.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has issued a report written by UN extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last October. The report is gruesome, including audiotapes of conversations before and during the murder. Most importantly, the report states:

“The Special Rapporteur has determined that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s.  She warns against a disproportionate emphasis on identifying who ordered the crime, pointing out that the search for justice and accountability is not singularly dependent on finding a smoking gun and the person holding it. The search is also, if not primarily, about identifying those who, in the context of the commission of a violation, have abused, or failed to fulfill, the responsibilities of their positions of authority. ”

The implicit charge against the Crown Prince is extraordinary for the United Nations. I sincerely doubt that President Trump will alter his policy toward Saudi Arabia, but the report will likely find strong supporters within the US Senate. The US needs to rethink its policies toward Saudi Arabia.

Posted June 19, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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