There are always upheavals in the world. They are mostly to seek redress for actual or perceived injustice when people have hit a wall. It is a natural recourse unless there are better avenues to show dissent & make the change. Democracies are perfectly suitable for forcing changes periodically to reflect the will of the people.
Thailand is a democratic country with a constitutional monarchy. What is happening in the last few weeks is a puzzle as there are clashes between two groups of people with one trying to bring down the government through protests & forceful tactics. That brings into sharp focus the different types of democracies. Those in the US, Britain, Europe & other western countries elect their governments for fixed terms that continue to run their course. But in many others, it is more like a demo-crazy with all forms of tactics to force the issues on the government in power.
India enjoys “the festival of democracy”. Nothing is possible but also, everything is possible! The system works in its own chaotic way, like a Bollywood film! There are many villains but the heroes finally win the day, at least thus far! Despite the simmering discontent at the unequal distribution of wealth, a Chinese type of rigid system is unthinkable. It looks like they are ready to pay any price for some daily anarchy! They have seen how the unionized few held the whole populace to ransom decades ago & know full well that a free-market system works better than government control in the garb of socialism, resulting in misallocation of resources and the curbing of individual creativity & liberty.
Indonesia has come out of a military controlled democracy under a powerful but benevolent dictator. Now, they also elect their leaders. The communist influences were brutally eradicated by General Suharto in 1965 before coming to power. Though the majority is poor, democracy has given them a safety-valve to let off steam & make their views clear, even strongly.
There are many others who swear by democratic governments but nothing can be taken for granted! Any severe economic misfortunes can rattle the foundations, though it looks unlikely for regimes like Pol Pot in Cambodia to come to power. China & Vietnam are still under communist party & there are no elections held for the people but have turned capitalist in a big way in their trade & business. Despite state control & other restrictions, most western companies have taken to China like a duck to water!
Looking at the economic progress in China & the anarchy in some democratic countries, some can very well wonder what use is democracy if it cannot deliver the results! Also, when leaders show no accountability, democracy also looks like a system where good people queue to elect the bad! Some leaders behave like street thugs with hangers-on to do their bidding, the man in the street do not matter in the scheme of things!
Though a reversal to communism or totalitarianism looks unlikely, the tide can turn if the situation turns worse, however unlikely that scenario looks plausible now! Sometimes, the choices are between leaders & parties who are equally bad; the lesser of the evil, gets the vote-in! The bottom line is accountability is lacking in nascent democracies.
The real challenge in a democracy is still to attract the best talent with a heart to serve & to better the lot of the people. Now, in most countries, though some have the desire, they baulk at a system fouled by wily politicians who have established their power-centers through fair or foul means. The common man is left to dream of better days to come endlessly & feels short-changed at the regular musical chairs of parties in power.
The best system is still in the works & seems beyond reach in nascent democracies!