Now that we face the totally unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russia, as well as the potential invasion of the Republic of China by the People’s Republic of China, I think it is of great interest to figure out this: If Russia were a direct democracy, would it have invaded Ukraine? If The People’s Republic of Chine were a direct democracy, will it show the same ambition of taking Taiwan over by force?
I am convinced if Russia had direct democracy, it would have not invaded Ukraine. I am also convinced that if the People’s Republic evolves into a direct democracy, it will have no interest in invading Taiwan.
When I speak of direct democracy, I refer to Swiss style direct democracy, which on all major issues is direct democracy because the people directly decide any major controversial policy, law or article of the constitution.
On major issues that are not controversial, or that require an immediate decision by government, Switzerland keeps many elements of representative democracy. Like most representative democracies, Switzerland has two legislative chambers and also an executive.
The key difference is, the Swiss people have the power, and exercise it regularly, to stop executive policies and laws approved by the politicians. They also have the power to force politicians to put in place new policies and laws.
I refer to Switzerland as the practical proof that direct democracy works because Switzerland has been practising direct democracy for over 150 years and there is practically universal consensus Switzerland is the most stable, best governed, most prosperous society in the World.
I am certain it is because of the way the Swiss practice direct democracy, and because they practice it in all levels of government, they hace “trained themselves” in its application. They do so by voting four times per year on policies and laws, and they are responsible for the consequences of their decisions; they can not blame the politicians, like it happens in representative democracies. Because they still keep important aspects of representative democracy, the Swiss also vote every four years to elect representatives.
One of the effects of direct democracy is that, by placing major decisions in the hands of the people, for example, declaring war, the people are extremely reluctant to die in a war of aggression; it would be them, not the politicians, who will send themselves, their fathers, children, brothers to die.
Even representative democracies are very reluctant to attack if not threatened because public opinion, the next election prospects, concern the politicians. But are not as reluctant because the politicians do not risk their own death, that is the hard truth.
If representative democracies had armed forces composed of conscripts, they will even more reluctant to send citizens to their deaths in any war where national security is not directly at stake, because the political consequences will be harsher for the politicians.
Perhaps one of the huge mistakes the United States, and other representative democracies, have made is to switch to professional soldiers whose job is to fight when and where the politicians decide. Such a system gives politicians some political immunity because those who die signed up voluntarily, they know it is part of their job to go, fight and risk death.
Switzerland, as you might have guessed, has armed forces where even most officers are conscripts. But it is more than that, Swiss citizens are part of the armed forces every year for many years, until they are too old to serve. Every year, the Swiss military involves otherwise ordinary Swiss citizens holding regular jobs in military training. They do so to have relatively big armed forces, trained and ready if Switzerland is attacked.
So in the Swiss system, we have powerful factors deterring Switzerland from attacking anyone, unless attacked first; the citizens will be responsible for the decision to attack, the citizens will send fellow citizens and/or themselves, to their deaths. It is a lot harder for a Swiss citizen to justify a war than for the politicians lacking direct democracy and having a professional military.
Perhaps that is one reason the Swiss also declare themselves neutral.
If Russia had Swiss style direct democracy, the Russian people would never send themselves and other citizens, fathers, sons brothers to conquer Ukraine. Particularly women would reject sending their husbands, fathers and children to attack Ukraine just because Ukraine wants to join NATO. It is absurd to think that, even with Ukraine in NATO, Ukraine and NATO present a danger to Russia, a Russia whose nuclear weapons ensure nobody would dare attack it.
By the way, I doubt that if the Ukraine had direct democracy, its citizens would have given up the nuclear weapons they had. Certainly the Russians would not have attacked if Ukraine had nuclear weapons aimed at Russia.
It is another issue, but Taiwan, Japan and other countries in the South China Sea should have nuclear weapons to deter the aggressive posturing of China. Israel shows why, even with its powerful US Jewish community, it does not rely on the US for final protection. It is the weaker countries living next to nuclear or non-nuclear dictatorships and fanatics who need the nuclear deterrent.
I am sure also that if ordinary Americans had to decide the involvement of the US in foreign wars, they would have said no to many of them, particularly if it was them, their friends and relatives who would risk death.
The obvious conclusion is: direct democracy will contribute to peace in the World. Direct democracy is not just a matter of “we pay, we must decide critical laws and policies, not just elect representatives”. It is more than that; “we are the ones to die, we must decide when to declare war”.
Think about it but, even better, study Swiss direct democracy; you will convince yourself it is a better, more moral system, more rational too.
Of course, in a direct democracy, Putin, Xi and even Biden could not send their citizens to their deaths attacking others without the explicit approval of the citizens.