Ever since the end of the cold war, the U.S. has relied on its status as “the world’s only superpower” to aggressively market its democratic values and political system to the entire globe. In every corner of the world, the U.S. has been vigorously displaying its “soft power” and promoting its global democratic strategy through supporting so-called democratic forces. In some of the Asian regions where the U.S. has paid attention for a long time, it has spared no effort to carry out its democratic strategy. The U.S. State Department’s “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004-2005” states: “The United States, through USAID, provides substantial funding for democracy, governance and human rights programs throughout the region. The State Department’s Human Rights and Democracy Fund supports programs to cultivate the development of democracy and the rule of law in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Fiji, Vietnam, Thailand and North Korea.” This type of wording has been mentioned in all previous years of human rights and democracy records. However, the expansion of democracy that the U.S. promotes has not brought about an economic boom or social development in these regions. On the contrary, it has led multiple countries or regions to fall into political instability and even chaos. In some areas and countries, with the progress of so-called democratization, “chaotic symptoms” have developed such as ethnic conflict, splitting the nation, social turmoil, massive corruption, and an unstable political situation. This is the consequence of blindly applying the Western democratic system without considering local social and culture conditions. …
Numerous facts have proved that imitating the Western political model and implementing Western style democracy is by no means a guarantee of social stability and economic development. Instead, one can say that the Western democratic system has already become a source of pain for some Asian countries and regions.
In the Philippines, copying American type democracy on a long-term basis has brought about inestimable negative consequences in its politics, economy and culture. During the colonial period of 1898-1946, the U.S. lifestyle quickly penetrated into all aspects of Philippine social life. The country’s material and spiritual life have been deeply affected. No wonder the Philippines is known as “the Eastern Little America” and its people are called “the Eastern Little Americans.” Although the Philippines had certain achievements in the modern democratic system, including imitating the U.S. bicameral system, and someone even praised it as “the U.S. democracy’s showcase in Asia,” its elections are pandemonium, full of public sentiments and fantastic stories, attracting the attention of foreign media. Mutinies in the military and massive street protests are nonstop every year, and are routine events in this “showcase.” The facts have shown that the Philippine’s “democracy” has shattered. American style democracy cannot bring happiness to the Philippine people.
In the same way, Thailand has also been deeply influenced by U.S.-led Western countries. As early as 1933, Thailand held its first historic election and established a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Thailand’s establishment of both male and female universal suffrage was earlier than any other Southeast Asia country. Although from this perspective it seems that Thailand’s democracy is very “advanced,” its democracy is also extremely fragile. Between 1932 and 1992, there were 19 military coups, and most succeeded. In the most recent one in September 2006, the military junta overthrew the interim government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Since then, the political situation has been far from stable. The Thai democracy, once Southeast Asia’s democratic benchmark, has also gotten into trouble. Some media have pointed out that Thailand’s current “democracy” has the tendency to become “populist politics,” and even “mob politics.”
Pushed by the U.S., China’s Taiwan region has also completed a so-called “democracy transition.” In essence, Taiwan’s democracy was imposed under pressure by the U.S, and it can be seen as a democracy attached to the U.S. At this point, the format of democracy has made remarkable progress in Taiwan, but the quality is actually deteriorating. Some scholars have sharply pointed out that the so-called democracy in today’s Taiwan is a “decadent democracy.” Examples include the polarization of society, tension among ethnic groups, and a lack of rationality among its citizens. Some people and social groups have taken the so-called “democracy” as a shield to blatantly defy the judicial process, using physical violence to infringe on others’ rights. Even the electoral system that best reflects the democratization of Taiwan is significant merely as a tool rather than having real value in political life. The people in Taiwan seem not to have the luck to be able to enjoy this achievement. Rather, to a certain extent, they are controlled by it. No wonder some scholars have sadly pointed out that, “This (democracy) is a Pandora’s box. What flies out is a demon called elections. Its logic and spirit are an unchecked power fight that has penetrated all aspects of Taiwan society at both election time and non-election time. … The current political condition is actually all about the political figures. Like in American football, the players wearing blue or green jerseys are grappling for the ball of power, which is out of control, against the background of an overexcited but befooled media and audience.”(Xu Kaiyi: “An Analysis of the ‘Taiwan Democracy’ Predicament,” Contemporary World and Socialism, the 4th issue, 2009). In short, democracy in the Taiwan region has been seriously distorted. The advancement in protocols cannot hide the failure of democracy’s essence and quality.
Based on the emergence of democracy and its dissemination worldwide, democracy can assume two types: endogenous and exogenous democracy. Endogenous democracies are relatively stable, as in the U.K., the U.S., and other advanced countries. This is because an endogenous democracy is a product of a country’s own socio-economic development reaching a certain point. Because its basic institutions are relatively stable, the country is able to adapt to the changing political environment. Exogenous democracies came into being under external (mainly Western) influence. In some developing countries, democracy is completely an export from the West. The reasons that an exogenous democracy is unstable are: first, its basic institutions are lacking, and second, effective socioeconomic and cultural support for democracy are lacking. (Zheng Yongnian: “China Can Learn From the Asian Countries’ Democracy Chaos,” International Herald Leader, July 21, 2008)
From a realistic point of view, the exogenous democracies exhibit different characteristics at different stages in their economic development. In the developed market economies such as Japan, although the political situation is stable, over the past 20 years, prime ministers have changed frequently, like a revolving door. In the international political arena, Japan is, in fact, infamous for its frequent changes of prime ministers. No doubt the frequent change in leadership to a certain extent reflects the disadvantages of the West’s so-called “parliamentary democratic system,” such as a discontinuity in government policy. In developing countries, this discontinuity often causes political turmoil and even bloody clashes. For example, Thailand’s political situation changes constantly because of the military coups. Although there are many factors causing the chaos, the main reason is excessive democracy or premature democracy due to one-sided implementation of democratic reform while ignoring other conditions.
Taking a closer look, countries with “excessive democracy or premature democracy” and the U.S. global exportation of democracy are inextricably linked. Especially after the 1980s, the U.S. started to expand its power in certain Asian countries in the name of democracy. It forced some countries or regions to accept American style democracy and the free-market economy. However, besides an open market and free elections, what is often introduced into developing countries at the same time is not prosperity and stability, but hatred, social chaos, and even genocidal riots.
(Author: The Xiamen University Taiwan Research Institute)
 What many in the world consider a country, such as Taiwan, Beijing considers a region.
 Red Flag Manuscript, “Analysis of “Democracy Chaos” in some Asian Regions,” March 7, 2011.