Like many others I will be watching developments in Pakistan and Kenya very keenly. One of the words that makes people in developing countries bristle is "globalisation", mainly because they see the developed world as driving the economic and political agenda for developing countries. But globalisation also means national figures not being able to act as if the rest of the world does not matter, does not see, does not care.
The spread of news over the Internet and through international TV news carriers such as CNN has meant that where ever there are major national events these are quickly known outside the place where they occur, both within the country concerned and abroad. Word of mouth is now international and spreads very fast. Many politicians in developing countries (and in developed countries) have still not come to terms with this and continue to act as if only the slow and imprecise "bush radio" will pass on news. Add to this the interest of ordinary citizens who can now be their own news casters with a video camera, mobile phone, and an Internet connection, and you will see that the world has changed dramatically. So any observer of even a minor event can distribute visual information about this to billions of viewers at the push of a few buttons. Ask Malaysia's health minister how he feels about his illicit sexual activities being seen world wide just because of closed circuit TV in a hotel and then made available on DVD. I feel sorry for him because this is really his private business, but public figures have to accept that they do not have "private space". These developments have done more to improve governance than legislation and international diplomatic pressure. You also have to ask when will people learn that the world has changed.
I am impressed that international diplomacy has given its nuanced disapproval of what has happened in Pakistan and Kenya: pressure by the US to postpone elections in Pakistan, and calls for a "coalition government" in Kenya mean that the world says "Wait a minute. Get this messy business cleared up. You cannot bypass democracy anymore." Add to this seemingly genuine calls at a national level for events to be investigated (such as Kenya's attorney general suggesting the need for an investigation of the election results and an immediate recount--this may be too late to bring national peace, however) mark an important shift in how political wrong doing will no longer be accepted blindly.
Both Kenya and Pakistan will also feel a wind that is hard to resist: the economic impact. Money will quickly flow away from both countries. Kenya has already seen how tourism has been drastically affected and the closing of its stock exchange within an hour of reopening shows how interconnected the world has become. Kenya has been a model of recent economic stability in Africa and Pakistan stands as an important doorway for international diplomacy between Muslim extremists and moderates. Both countries have benefited greatly from international financial and political support because of their apparent willingness to allow a greater role for democracy. If democracy is blocked just watch and see how fast that support falters or reverses. Money talks in a different but still important way. It now walks with politics and together they are a very powerful couple.
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