IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 20th Nov 2020
Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.” – Grandma Moses
EDITORIAL HUNT #252 :“Informational Autocracy vs Democracy | UPSC”
M.K. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal
A world in chaos and a moment of truth
Informational autocracy is the latest danger that threatens democracies
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Democracy
Autocratic rule in digital world has threatened the democracies and affected a wider section of society.Discuss(GS 2)
- Evolution of democracies around the globe
- America’s divide and beyond
- European issues
- DECISION MAKING : We have been fed on stories on how men in authority take critical decisions after deep and deliberate introspection.
SOURCES : WASHINGTON POST
- RECENT EVENTS : Current events, however, are testimony to the fact that this is no longer true in today’s world.Change is the essence of time.
AMERICA’S DIVIDE AND BEYOND
- COMPETITION BETWEEN IDEOLOGUES : The existence of acutely sharp divisions between liberals and conservatives, and the concept of endangering democracy in today’s world would hardly be correct.
- OLDEST DEMOCRACIES : The shenanigans(secret activity) currently taking place in the world’s oldest democracy, and efforts by Donald Trump, to negate the verdict of presidential elections is seen only in dictatorships.
IDEOLOGICAL DIVISION | SOURCES : PEW RESEARCH CENTER
- FAKE NEWS MENACE : The lack of sensibilities on the part of the U.S. authorities , while lecturing the world about the virtues of democracy, represent a new pole in the utilisation of fake news.
- SUPPORT SYSTEM : Clearly, Trumps support comes from a segment that has serious grievances against policies favoured by so called ‘liberal segments’, and in turn, the neglect of their interests.
- WAKE UP CALL : This is true of many other democracies as well and must be viewed as a wake-up call.
- IDENTITY THREATS : What is evident is that issues of identity, or threats to identity, are becoming an important issue in elections across democracies.
- MANIPULATION OF GRIEVANCES : By using psychometric techniques (a la Cambridge Analytica), and the use of ‘deep fakes’ made possible through Artificial Intelligence, further enhances the threat to current notions of democracy.
- GRAPPLING PANDEMIC : Europe, grappling with a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, will need for instance, to reckon with the reality .
- UNDETERMINED DEAL : An uncertain Brexit will further damage the prospects of both the United Kingdom and Europe.
- RUSSIAN ENIGMA : Russia, under Vladimir Putin, remains an enigma, for despite its military strength and strategic congruence with China, its future appears increasingly uncertain.
- DISAPPEARING COHESION : All embracing secularism, with overweening emphasis on social cohesion, seems to be going out of the door in the face of new social and political challenges.
TERROR IS RETURNING
- GAINING POPULARITY : Terrorism is resurfacing, and with renewed vigour. The al-Qaeda is again becoming prominent.
- THE IS IN SYRIA : The IS, which many thought had been vanquished following the victories achieved in Syria and Iraq towards the end of 2018, has returned in full force.
- TRANSNATIONAL CHARACTER : In recent weeks, it has carried out attacks in France — Paris and Nice — and in Austria (Vienna), a reminder of the transnational character of the threat it poses to democratic countries.
- NEW TERRORISM : They combine symbolism with spectacular violence.
- MANIPULATION OF INFORMATION : Events of misinformation to achieve certain desired ends are becoming the stock-in-trade of many a democratic regime as well.
- CROPPING THE DATA : Many democratic nations today resort to manipulating data to support or prop up the state’s version of events.
THE ISSUES IN INDIA
- AGITATIONS : Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is witnessing a kind of surface calm, but beneath this there are evident tensions.
- LARGE SCALE INFILTRATION : Pakistan’s efforts to push in terrorists in ever larger numbers, leading to large scale casualties, specially among the Indian Army and security forces personnel.
- GUPKAR ALLIANCE : At the political level, in J&K, new equations are being forged for further confrontation, as evidenced by the setting up of the seven party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
- SINO INDIA RELATIONS : The downward spiral in its relations with China has not been arrested.
- COMMERCIAL EXCLUSION : The RCEP, which covers almost a third of the world’s economy, is perceived as the springboard for future economic recovery across the region.
- CHINESE LEADERSHIP : No disruptive leadership changes are likely here in the near future.
- STRONG IMPETUS : Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to emerge stronger after the 20th Party Congress, in 2022, giving a further impetus to the transformation of China into a superpower by 2035.
- NEW REFORMS : While new foreign policy initiatives may be few, major reform initiatives will be confined to the economy, the energy sector and new innovation systems.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Informational Autocracy vs Democracy | UPSC