Democracy\'s Fourth Wave?
In order for the concept of "waves" to take place over time, there has to be a continuous motion of positive and negative influxes of democratic ideologies and the revitalization of rights given to the citizens. A third wave of democracy surfaced the globe from 1974 to 2006 with an increase in countries changing from non-democratic governments to democratic governments. Central and Eastern Europe communities, along with the increase of economic value in North Africa, played a key role in consolidating democracy in these "hot-spot" areas. This fourth wave may not be as fast paced as the third wave, but the democratic uprising is happening in a place that has been untouched: the Middle East. The increase of democratization in the millennium has been contributed by autocratic regimes becoming unstable, rapid growth of new communications, and external factors taking part in this fight to push for basic human rights in these countries.
After the Arabian Peninsula seemed to be under lock and key, the Arab Spring began a social protest initiated a fall of non-democratic power that has been in place for almost forty years. The awakening began in Tunisia and helped snowball the affect to Egypt, Libya, and other surrounding governments. In December 2010, a man set himself on fire to display his mistreatment from government officials, and little did he know this one event would trigger the collapse of dictatorships that have been in place for up to forty years. The initiation of the protests surprisingly came from younger individuals who were experiencing low incomes that haven\'t had much experience in political reform. The youthfulness of the revolt led to Middle Eastern government to remodel their views and spend government money on their people, who could finally call themselves citizens since their actions were urging partnership between the people and the government. The world was witnessing the people demanding more fundamental issues as oppose to philosophy of the government. Therefore, these autocratic regimes were becoming more vulnerable and more dependent on their residents.
The increase in technology has led to phones and cameras to capture this uprising and help communicate their unjust to the rest of the world to help increase their momentum. Also the increase in communication strategies has helped overshadow the government\'s effort to control all outside Internet access. These countries are beginning to embrace digital media that is allowing them to connect with other governments and citizens across the world. A key factor in democracy is to foster the civil society with groups that organize themselves to initiate their views and opinions to the rest of the country. Media and communication allows these citizens to interact and fuel other citizens\' viewpoints as well allowing the government to finally hear their voices. The assembly of different objectives is adding more diversity as oppose to the government\'s idea that one single group can represent the entire population.
The Arab Spring and the increase in communication initiated a response from external factors including the United States and the United Nations. Our democracy is seen as a role model, and if it fails, it sets an example that will diminish democracies everywhere. The present changes in the Arab government is igniting Western democracies\' power again as democracy is back on the map. The problem is that up until September 11th, the Western democracies have performed "democratic exceptionalism", where they thought the Arab countries would best benefit the United States if their governments remained authoritarian. This idea has become a misconception because without the support of Western democracies, the Arab nation will never acknowledge this new type of government. George H. W. Bush decided to dissolve this exceptionalism and started to encourage democratization in the Middle East. Barak Obama continued this idea by saying that American will promote the liberties of the Arab people since suppression has never worked to hide their individual freedoms. The United States is also pushing for a free market economy with the Arab countries to keep their military existence as well as a more stable contract between these two powerful nations in the sale of oil. The UN has also voiced its objective to encourage democracy in the East and is reinforcing harmony in these high tension countries.
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