Why the Western Multiparty System Is a Trap for Developing Countries

In the U.S.-led Western world, the constructed, contemporary political framework resolves the myriad problems facing modernizing, developing countries by turning to the principles known as human rights, freedom and democracy. In Western political ideology, the highest manifestation of these principles is represented by a multiparty system that upholds the principles of free and fair elections. In the eyes of the West, countries that implement multiparty systems are the sole embodiment of “freedom and democracy.” Other nations are dismissed as human-rights-violating dictatorships, and the West mercilessly suppresses such countries, using various methods ranging from sanctions, isolation, blockades, isolation, fostering subversives, carrying out assassinations and even orchestrating armed regime change. Post-World War II history has revealed that, for underdeveloped countries, the arduous journey toward modernization is strewn with snares meticulously placed by the West.

In the post-colonial era following World War II, Western countries implemented neocolonialism via the powerful tool of the multiparty system. In the former era of old colonialism, Western powers exploited and plundered their colonies brazenly, while neocolonialism introduced more subtle tricks, including cultural exchanges, economic aid, and, above all, political infiltration. The primary strategy employed to enforce this process is the exertion of pressure on developing countries to adopt the multiparty system as a mandatory measure.

It is only after the establishment of a multiparty system that the West can leverage its tool kit to secure its interests. It is precisely for this reason that the West lavishes with praise those developing countries that have implemented the multiparty system, irrespective of the magnitude of persistent internal problems. Conversely, regardless of the quality of their governance, developing countries that choose to reject the multiparty system are met with Western smears and the propping up of internal opposition forces. Consequently, these nations find themselves entangled in internal conflicts, rendering it virtually impossible to dedicate attention to the task of modernization.

As the world’s most advanced bloc, the West naturally considers its development model the universal yardstick. Developing nations have long been profoundly impacted by the pervasive influence of the model and have unwittingly adopted it. Upon the adoption of the Western model by a developing country, the West, as the established standard bearers, gain a certain jurisdiction to judge the country’s political, economic and social landscape. Thus, from the West emerged an authoritative caste that defines human rights and presides over a non-Western world that must accept its received wisdom. This caste perpetually decrees what is right and wrong, and the lower caste must comply unquestioningly. Therefore, for the vast number of developing countries, the setting of the general development direction and specific policies must all pass under the scrutinizing eyes of Western governments and media. The West can, with the snap of a finger, determine the level of domestic support for a developing nation’s government. Therefore, those who have accepted the multiparty system struggle independently to seek their own path of modernization.

The multiparty system inevitably turns developing nations into vassals. From the aforementioned points, it becomes glaringly evident that in this way the West exerts influence over politics, economy and culture, thereby shoring up its own interests. More importantly, developing countries subconsciously start to shape themselves according to the Western model, regardless of the appropriateness to their specific national conditions, most often resulting in political turmoil. With political turmoil comes Western intervention, and with intervention comes more turmoil. This is the same old story of the West pushing the developing countries into an inescapable and vicious cycle.

The author is a professor at The School of Marxism of China University of Petroleum and a researcher at Beijing branch of the Institute for Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

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