Updated: Jan 6
Now that Vladimir the Terrible has outed himself as one more in a long line of Russian
despots (Ivan IV, Nicholas II, Lenin, Stalin), leaders of free world nations should convene with
the same urgency that their predecessors did in forming the United Nations during World War II.
Only this time the world needs something besides the UN. The world’s largest
deliberative body failed its latest test as a guardian of democracy when its Security Council
couldn’t manage to condemn the rape of Ukraine. Then, after after two months of Russian war crimes, the Security Council finally eked out a watery resolution declaring its “concern” for the “hostilities.”
The answer is for civilized nations to form an Organization of Democratic States. They
would signal that the time has come to cleave freely elected nations from the menace of
personality cults, kleptocracies, military dictatorships, theocracies and thugocracies that infest the world. It’s time to throw down the gauntlet so that all must declare who they really are – or have a plan to become so.
To gain entry in the Organization of Democratic States (ODS), a nation would have to prove
to a decisive majority of its member states that it has (1) free elections, subject to ODS
monitoring; (2) a free press; (3) an independent judiciary; (4) a free market economy; and (5)
transparent financial reporting.
Don’t fret the details at this point. Strong, specific requirements can be forged if
member nations want them, just as representatives of 13 diverse colonies managed to hammer out a U.S. Constitution in 1787 and Europeans formed their Union 200 years later.
How would ODS make a difference? First, it would channel money and other forms of its
combined power to nations that serve democratic ideals. No longer would support from the
U.S. and its allies be diffused and diluted through the amoral, amorphous United Nations.
Eventually, countries that may be wobbling over embracing democracy – Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, come to mind – might just be pulled over the line by the prospect of more trade and financial assistance in achieving democratic goals.
Second, a strong ODS could expose autocratic states that now cloak themselves in gauzy
platitudes espousing democratic ideals. Russia’s constitution, for example. Nations claiming to be democratic would have to prove it by the criteria outlined above. Otherwise, they’d be
outed as phonies in the glare of public opinion.
Third, outsiders would no doubt find themselves forming a “contra” group. And so,
Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other bad boys would have to concoct a name for their
organization. Let’s see: The Alliance of Autocracies? Dictators Against Democracy? The Union of Presidents-for-Life?
What about the beleaguered United Nations? No need right now to disrupt its famine
food deliveries, earthquake relief, vaccinations, and the like. But when it comes to forging a
future for democracy, a strong Organization of Democratic States is better bet.
Would an ODS further weaken the UN? European nations saw no downside when they
formed the European Union to support their special interests. A psychiatrist who belongs to the American Medical Association sees no conflict in also joining the American Psychiatric
Association. By forming the Organization of Democratic States, the practitioners of democracy will have a better way to sharpen their identity and push more aggressively for their way of life.