January 22, 2021

SANDERS: Recovering America’s battered Democracy and Authority

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By Sir Ronald Sanders From Kaieteur News

Kaieteur News – Recent events in Washington, the revered capital of the United States of America, have shaken the moral authority of that country to lecture, threaten and coerce other countries in the name of democracy, rule of law and human rights.

The disgraceful scenes of Americans storming their own sacred Capitol Building – the long-claimed sanctuary for democracy – was bad enough, but what preceded it was worse. A mob, mobilized to be lawless and violent, was deplorable. What was despicable, were the actions of Republican Congresspersons, who do know better, to wilfully and shamelessly try to overturn the will of the people to change the government through a democratic process that was confirmed by state and federal courts and by the Supreme Court itself.

A sitting President of the United States, Donald Trump, openly encouraged a mob to be lawless and to do precisely what they did – attack the bastion of the country’s law-making body in a determined attempt to carry out what was no less than a Coup d’etat.

The mob – nothing less than terrorists – were intent upon overturning the results of a legitimate Presidential election in which both the popular vote and the votes of the Electoral College confirmed that Joseph Biden Jr. had been elected as President of the United States. In the course of it, within the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill, blood was shed. Not the proverbial blood resulting from heated debate and bruised egos, but real blood, as Americans shot at Americans and a woman was killed.

When similar events occurred in other parts of the world, especially developing countries, except those countries where the U.S. government favours the regimes in power, the U.S. has been swift to act with threats, sanctions, condemnation and by promoting censure in bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS). Other governments that hang-on to the coat tails of the U.S. have been quick to support their actions.

Yet, even as the horrors at Capitol Hill were unfolding live on television screens worldwide, the OAS Secretary-General was silent, until pushed publicly to speak. Hangers-on governments issued tame statements – none of them belled the cat by calling the name of the person solely responsible for bringing the U.S. to this sorry pass in the eyes of the international community.

It took the leader of the minority NDP in Canada, Jagmeet Singh, to publicly identify the culprit. In a tweet, Singh declared, “The horror unfolding in Washington is frightening and it was incited by Donald Trump. He can end it now but refuses to. Democracy must not be intimidated. The violence must end.”

On the same day, the Miami Herald interviewed me for a story entitled, “Across Latin America and in Miami, storming of U.S. Capitol recalls chaos at home.” The focus was on the parallels between the assault on democracy and the rule of law in the U.S. and the U.S action in Guyana during five months in 2020, when the U.S. government acted to end the stealing of the government against the will of the electorate in the March 2020 general and regional elections. I reproduce below a section of the Miami Herald story.

“What’s happening in the United States is a complete violation of every democratic norm and also of the rule of law (by Donald Trump and elements of the Republican Party) in a flagrant attempt to remain in power,” Sanders said. “Had that occurred in any developing country, indeed in any country of the world, the United States would have been the first to roundly condemn those people, to apply sanctions against those countries and to take action in the name of human rights, democracy and civil rights.“

Last year, Sanders noted, the Trump administration issued visa sanctions against members of the Guyana government when the country’s then-president David Granger refused to accept the outcome of the South American nation’s presidential elections and used the court system to try and overturn the vote.

“The circumstances are almost identical,” he said. “The United States government applied sanctions, applied threats and claimed democracy was at risk and demanded adherence by parties in Guyana, all of which were right.”

“I think all of those things were necessary, but you cannot apply it to other countries and not apply it to yourself. If you apply a double standard, you lose the authority to tell anybody anything when they do wrong.”

That is the consequence of Donald Trump’s rejection of the will of the majority of the American people that he should not return to the White House. It is also a consequence of the demeaning of the sanctity and authority of the U.S. Congress that he organized and promoted for his selfish ends. And it is a consequence of the ready acquiescence of Republicans in Congress and of hanger-on governments, including in the Caribbean, who remained silent, and complicit, as Trump’s government forced its will in bodies such as the OAS, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Trade Organization and elsewhere, eroding international law, norms and practices.

Thankfully, the institutions of democracy and the rule of law remained strong and resilient in the U.S. itself. Were it not for the belief and commitment of Americans themselves – including, in the end, Vice President Mike Pence – America and the world would have been facing an unstable and disastrous future.

The world was brought to the brink of disaster on January 6 – a date described by senate minority leader, Democrat, Chuck Schumer, as “as one of the darkest days in recent American history.”

It is to be hoped that Americans have learned a salutary lesson for democracy and the rule of law in their own country, and about the importance of retaining and nurturing respect, not fear, globally.

Hopefully, hangers-on governments around the world, will also have learned that standing-up for principle is far more valuable than alliances with bullies with feet of clay.

(The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are entirely his own.)

Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronaldsanders.com


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  1. An individual once asked the former soviet leader Joseph Stalin for his views on his brand of Democracy and Voting. His reply was not in any way surprising. He said that he had no problem with “Democracy” his only problem was who was doing the vote counting after the vote. The late saddam Hussain too had no problem with his version of Democracy since he often received 98% of all votes casted.

    I am given to understand that the American brand of Democracy has many deficiencies, a quantity of which were brought into light during the recent election there and which too have brought into question the clamed win of the Democrats. Watch;
    Watters’ World 1/9/21 Peter Navarro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdqSfw6ejb0

    Further, where is the evidence that “A sitting President of the United States, Donald Trump, openly encouraged a mob to be lawless and to do precisely what they did” dear fellow? To encourage supporters to come to the city is one thing but to say he encouraged a mob to be lawless is quite another thing and demands supporting evidence dear Mr Ronald Sanders!

    The world appears to be going down a road that would delight those whose version of democracy differs greatly from the one envisaged by Abraham Lincoln those many years ago during the birth of the United States of America.

    For in the words of another American. Namely the son of the President this is indeed so. “Don Jr. claims the world is ‘laughing at America’ and ‘Mao, Lenin and Stalin are smiling’ over his father’s Twitter ban – as purge wipes thousands of followers from Republican officials including Mike Pompeo and Trump loyalists flee for Parler and Gab” Parler suffering a denial of service and ban from Amazon.


    Where indeed were the liberal defenders of democracy recently when the mobs of BLM were conducting their burning all over America, Police Stations and the private businesses that create wealth there? Were the liberal / left not arguing that America was built on protest?


    Parler faces SHUTDOWN as Amazon vows to switch off its servers at midnight tonight and Apple follows Google and bans it: CEO warns they will have to rebuild the platform and slams attack on ‘free speech’

    Just how different is the United States of America of today different from North Korea or the People’s Republic of China or the Iraq of saddam Hussain? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pxQGngMeb0

  2. What is the real truth in the ongoing narrative that is being spread by the Liberal / Left who have for the past number of years have been putting big money before all liberty and freedoms?

    A Liberal / Left whose love for the totalitarianism of China is spurring them on to relegate the rest of us into the garb of medieval Surfdom, as they enjoy the riches that their businesses makes from oppressed Labour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSIEqJ0EWOM

    The new liberal / Left agenda and their version of a Democracy as pursued and delivered in the U.S.A. What shall we make of their version of Democracy, or of fairness in today’s United States of America where dissention from their gross narrative is totally unforgivable https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uJw4MzhKHk

    What then is the state of any Democracy when voices of dissent are profoundly silenced and feudal ideas and forms of Government and national control rules sway?

  3. Ronald Sanders tells us that there is a need for “Recovering America’s battered Democracy and Authority,” there sure is a pressing need for that but what about the glaring hypocrisy and pretence at fairness from the wealthy American elites who hoodwinks many poor Americans into thinking that totalitarian China and American workers could somehow sing with them from the same enduring hymn sheet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnxUhw0ZyBI

    The glaring hypocrisy and illiberal ideology of the Liberal/left sure needs to be called out for what it is as it is well documented. Their ideology is more akin to the ideology of 1930’s Germany fused with that of today’s People’s Republic of China. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV1zc1b3nbI

    So what then are the facts about the so-called American Democrats and their politics? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omn2tLX5Au4

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