Moreover, after the Korean War, South Korean economy was considered erratic due to its inability to generate adequate levels of export and savings. Like Botswana, South Korean economy was largely dependent on agriculture and its export amounted to 3 percent of GNP in the 1960s (Westphal, 1990; 43). Therefore, the only possible way to bring South Korea on a sustain level of development was by changing economy’s trajectory and introducing some major economic reforms.
A policy of Export oriented Industrialization (EOI) was therefore introduced which established free trade regime for export activity, and enabled people to import inputs without tariffs so that export production could be maximized (Westphal, 1990 45). Additional incentives were introduced which included direct tax reductions and privileged access to import licenses. Moreover, interest rates were managed in a way so that big corporations could expand their businesses and increase production (Ibid: 46).
But, some have criticized neo-liberal reforms arguing that governments are made subservient to corporate power. Fixing interest rates in a way that protects or reflects the interests of these big corporations proves that democratic governments are subservient to industries (Crotty & Lee 2001:6). Moreover, it is elites who run these corporations which means that more power is given in the hands of those who are not elected or questioned directly by the public, thus a doubt raises on the accountability of these corporations (Ibid: 5).
In the case of Botswana, neo-liberal policies might have helped in growing economy, but its focus on mining sector have resulted in mass inequality. In this case, priority was the development of mining sector which totally neglected other branches, thus those working in mining sector received higher wages and welfare as compared to those in agriculture field (Maipose, 2008:48).
However, data and figures tell a different story and reflects the success of neo-liberal economic policies. The structural reforms had significant effect on Korean economy and today its economy, according to Westphal, is dominated by manufacturing sector resulting in exports exceeding 40 percent of GNP (Westphal, 1990: 43). In his view, it was due to these structural reforms that resulted in the establishment of major industries and since the 1960s; Korea has been dominant in exporting manufactured products which include chemicals, automobiles and heavy electrical equipment. Additionally, wig exports which never existed before, rose to 12 percent in 1970s (Westphal, 1990:59). Thus, government’s reliance on free markets institutions resulted in highly profitable ventures that were never promoted by government (Westphal, 1990: 59).
However, some might consider Korean ‘miracle’ as Fraud and point out that fundamental principles of democracy have been eroded as it constrain governments. Indeed, the financial system is fragile considering the crises of 2008, it poses a danger to South Korea as its markets largely depend on World Markets (Crotty & Lee, 2001:5). They point out the restructuring process that has badly weakened the policy tools that South Korean government used in the past to impose social control over the economy. Moreover, they rightly ask what policy instruments would be available to progressive governments in future to meet the needs of its citizens. Of course, when the market is dominated by rich individuals and powerful companies with finance flowing freely from one country to another, democratic governments would not be left with many alternatives but to be submissive to rich corporations (Crotty & Lee, 2001:6).
Further, it is argued that neo-liberal reforms present a neo-colonial project of North dominating the South by imposing policies that would help secure the interests of western powers. It is often suggested that institutions like the IMF and the World Bank have been created in order to maintain economic and political control of the newly independent and resourceful countries (Nkrumah, 1965:8). In that sense, aid is provided with certain conditions attached that contributes to secure the interest of donors. In the case of Botswana, The Kingdom of Britain extended its support with a condition that it would be spent mainly on the development of mining sector. According to Mogape, UK as major contributor of aid received more than 70 percent of the diamond exports and thus it could be argued that this whole process served the interests of the UK (Mogape, 2005:6).
So far this essay has argued about neo-liberal achievements in most of the developing countries. Despite of heavy criticism, neo-liberal economic policies have played an important role in the development of many states. Due to that reason, some might talk about promoting such policies on the basis of humanitarianism (Gordon, 2003:1117. Therefore, it is suggested that military intervention in the developing world would help people embrace universal values of democracy and development, thus ultimately serving humanity. Cooper argues that pre-modern states lack modern and democratic ideals which make a good case for Western intervention as it would help them embrace such cosmopolitan values (Cooper, 2007:3). The examples of Iraq and Afghanistan could be considered here which were invaded on the basis of ensuring security and establishing democratic institutions.
If we take a step back then we have examples of Germany and Japan, both post WW2 states, have been cited as a symbol of success. Indeed, it did serve as a reference to many policy makers, and thinkers like Robert Cooper would champion such success and serve it as a means to justify interventions in other states (Enterline & Greig 1081).
But not all interventions fully intend to promote a full-fledged democracy that would then be unable to deliver the policy concessions sought by democratic interveners (Mesquita and Downs 2006: 641). Interveners either bring elite into power or result in handpicked leaders to promote western interests.
In contrast, intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan helped in achieving certain goals according to some writers. In Khalilzad’s view, military interventions certainly helped in building democratic institutions in both Afghanistan and Iraq. First, it toppled the long brutal regime of the Taliban and organized a system that not only attracted strong political figures, but also reflected the interests of local Afghans (Khalilzad 2010:43). The United States also reached out to those who were prepared to reconcile, thus were made part of the political system which reflects the commitment of Western powers to ensure a strong democratic control in Afghanistan (Khalilzad, 2010: 49). Moreover, the design of a national constitution reflected the weaknesses of the existing states. According to Khalilzad, the US intervention helped not only in building democratic institutions but also in formulating Afghanistan’s unified constitution. With the help of the US, Afghanistan and Iraq established a strong political system with an independent judiciary and today it enjoys a broad based electoral participation (Khalilzad 2010: 44).
Similarly, the long awaited humanitarian intervention not only overthrew the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, but also ensured that every single ethnic group is involved in the newly established political system (Khalilzad, 2010:43). A system in which different ethnic and political differences are settled by more inclusive institutions. Moreover, women faced many problems as violence against women was widely accepted before 2001 (Romano & Brown, 2006:56). However, Brown and Romano claim that Post Saddam regime has promoted women’s rights by introducing liberal reforms. According to them, women not only have representation in the government but have also become high-ranking judges which was not possible before the US occupation (Romano & Brown, 2006:57).
When it comes to the development of Iraq, Andrew Lawler contributes to explain how western intervention helped in the development of Iraq. According to him, 90 percent of the famed Iraqi wetlands were destroyed during the Saddam regime (Lawler 2005:1187). Moreover, massive dikes and canals were built to divert water just because of his dislike of Shiite Muslims which is described as crime against humanity. In his view, the development of Iraq is underway as the US Army Corps of Engineers and scientists from Western countries have gained access to start working with the local people and restore these ancient Iraqi Marshes (Lawler 2005:1188).
However, many scholars have discredited this idea and have shown resentment over the issue of military intervention. One of the criticism of military intervention has come from Peterson who rightly argues that intruders can never create trust, which is a basic element of democracy (Petersen 2007:2). Moreover, considering previous colonial exploitations, Petersen correctly points out that it would be hard to legitimize democratic institutions even if it is rightly guided to protect the interests of the local people (Petersen 2007:3) . Of course, Peterson is arguing about the distrust that military interventions create which would undermine the legitimacy of institutions created through such action.
Further, Ashley Smith highlights the negative impacts of the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. In his view, such intervention has not only resulted in mass killings of the US troops, but also in the deaths of thousands of Afghans since Afghanistan’s occupation (Smith 2011:4). Coming to the point of democratic institutions, it is evident that Hamid Karzai lacks popular support and is backed by the US to satisfy its own interests, therefore there is a serious question mark on the future of democracy once the allied forces pull out of Afghanistan (Smith 2011:5).
Moreover, rather than bringing different ethnic groups together in Iraq, it will not be wrong to suggest that western intervention has created more problems. According to Smith, military occupation whipped up a civil war between different ethnic groups like Sunnis and Shias and thus leading to violence and to the deaths of millions of Iraqis (Smith 2011:8). Rather than creating peace and stability, the Western intervention on the basis of humanitarianism has contributed to violence and disturbance in the regions (Smith 2011: 9). The question here arises that how can democracy sustain in a country that is prone to violence and conflict.
Most importantly, it has to be noted that there are different factors that contribute to the establishment of democracy. Considering an authoritarian region such as Middle East, it would be highly unlikely for democracy to prevail in a country like Iraq (Enterline & Greig, 2005). As argued above, there are different factors that contribute to democracy and Enterline and Greig rightly point out these factors to be cultural, economic and political fractionalization of its population (Enterline & Greig, 2005). Considering Iraq’s ethnic and religious cleavages, Enterline and Greig rightly suggest that Western occupation would not lead to regional peace, prosperity and democracy in Iraq.
The above argument and thorough discussion leads us to conclude that, Neo-liberal reforms do help in building economies as it ensure development and domestic growth. The economic growth of South Korea and Botswana suggest that neo-liberal economic reforms might lead developing states to a path of achieving great economic success, but its structural adjustments might also danger the basic principles of democracy. For instance, the issue of accountability might not be addressed and governments might be limited to a ceremonial role as these policies put constraints on democratic governments. Further, intervening on the basis of humanitarianism might lead to undesirable consequences. Military intervention might put in place democratic governments, but they might not be sustainable in long term. In case of Iraq and Afghanistan, it has led to civil disorder and domestic violence which might question the democratic future of such governments.
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