Sharansky’s Experience vs. The Current Conditions in the Country of Iran

It is the role of democratic countries to influence the undemocratic states into adopting this system. By doing this, these countries guarantee the continuation of their own societies by minimizing possible threats that face them. This happens because people have a say on the mode of governance hence tend to focus on improving their social and economic status, as opposed to funding terrorist activities to stay in power.

As Sharansky pointed out, tyrants persecute the voices of dissent and double thinkers in a bid to quash revolts. While this presents a mirage of conformity and hence a leader’s popularity, the situation, in reality, is that of discordance and disharmony. The assault on civil society organizations as shown by some leaders is further proof of the oppression that is rife in such societies. It is up to the democratic countries to institute measures including sanctions that will persuade undemocratic nations, to reconsider their stance on the issue.

It is my opinion that the best method of promoting democracy will be through a world parliament, as opposed to the use of force. This will imply the creation of an institution that represents world citizens on a global scale. By giving each member state equal representation and privileges, members from undemocratic states will appreciate the importance of democracy and achieving consensus, hence advocating for the incorporation of such models back home (Fatemi, 2008). Military intervention entails the use of undemocratic methods in a bid to spread democracy across the world. This thought is advanced by the fact that leaders do not consult their electors before taking up combat.

It should also be noted that sanctions, incentives and persuasion may not be the best solution to this challenge, based on the South African example. In spite of isolation and external pressure, the apartheid government was in place for a number of decades before dialog finally brought it down. It should be remembered, that only five nations practiced democracy five years after military interventions aimed at establishing democracy took place in their countries. This is a low figure, given that interventions have taken place in twenty-five states (Archibugi, 2009).

To promote democracy, Sharansky underscores the importance of reintroducing moral clarity to global affairs. This should be supplemented by harmonizing international policies to the worldwide advancement of democracy. The Soviet imperialists needed to the existing conflicts with the western states in order to stay in power (Sharansky & Dermer, 2006). They employed propaganda against those countries and incited their citizenry by flooding the media with falsehood. The end of the cold war brought about an archetype shift because the leaders opted to set aside their differences and work together for the common interest of their nationals (Keller, 2007).

Right to freedom

It should be noted as a fact that all persons bear entitlement to freedom with reference to speech, movement, worship, and other liberties. From the book, it is clear that there is a distinction between fear and freedom. The terms free societies as those which allow for the right of expression. Rulers in fear societies deny their subjects the right to an opinion. On many occasions, these societies have three categories of citizens, dissidents, double thinkers and factual believers (Mearsheimer & Walt, 2006).

Double thinkers are those who are in opposition with the societal routine and ideology but bear reservations about confronting the regime. This population tends to grow at a faster rate, explaining why this category constitutes the bulk of persons in many societies. As a result, people may be fooled by the façade of loyalty created by double thinkers (Keller, 2007).

Dissidents are persons in complete disagreement with the regime who have no qualms about coming clean about their stance on crucial matters. They are limited in number as a result of persecution and open hostility they are subjected to by the state. This ensures a majority of them will be absorbed into the cluster of double thinkers. Factual believers are conformists who buy into every concept and policy idea fronted by the state (Sharansky & Dermer, 2006).

According to Sharansky, it is improper to argue that employing democratic principles in some countries is impossible. He lived in the Soviet Union as a political prisoner when tyrants ruled, making him a first-hand witness to the ills perpetrated by tyrannical rulers of those days. He draws parallels with the present situation in the Middle East, and Arab states in general. He argues that incorporating democracy in their governance structure is mandatory. Sharansky advances his case by citing the fact that these societies are controlled by radicals, making it dangerous to allow them have a free hand in charting out their destiny. He advocates for an all inclusive process of governance, which accords the majority their way without denying the minority their say (Sharansky & Dermer, 2006).

In the present Iran, persecution of reformists and like minded organizations is evident. The results of the 2009 elections were heavily disputed, with allegations of irregularities surfacing. The incumbent opted to deploy military force on the citizens and election rivals who were protesting the result. This is a clear example of totalitarianism, similar to that which characterized the Soviet nations in Sharansky’s early life. If all nations structured their policies in ways that would compel undemocratic states to review their governance structures, it would be a considerable step towards achieving universal freedom that all of mankind deserves.


Archibugi, D. (2009). Democracy for export: principles, practices, lessons. Open Democracy. Web.

Fatemi, S. (2008). Is the Iranian regime totalitarian? Iran Press Service. Web.

Keller, S. M. (2007). “Why is Music so Ideological, Why Do Totalitarian States Take It So Seriously: A Personal View from History, and the Social Sciences”, Journal of Musicological Research, XXVI, no. 2-3, pp. 91–122.

Mearsheimer, J. J. & Walt, S. M. (2006). The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Middle East Policy, 13: 29–87.

Sharansky, N. & Dermer, R. (2006). The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom To Overcome Tyranny and Terror. Arizona: Balfour Books Printing.

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DemoEssays. "Sharansky’s Experience vs. The Current Conditions in the Country of Iran." December 27, 2022.