If Not Democracy, What?
First, keep it in mind that I am observing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions about what is or is not. I'm not trying to save the world or head up a revolution. So the question I'm addressing isn't: what do we do now? It's: what's working, if anything? And: what's not working? And: what should we do if we were all rational people willing and able to do what we should do? Whether you can stand it or understand it or not, my purpose isn't to provide the UN a manual (though the UN probably should read this website), it's to clarify and practice clarifying things for myself and any equally perceptive readers.
Some things that don't work are pretty clear.
1 : Democracy does NOT work and CAN'T work in a capitalist context. (to save
repetition here, see democracy under Definitions).
2: Therefore, democracy in America doesn't work - period - except as
an actually clumsy scam for the rich (see same reference). 3: To impose
American democracy AND capitalism together as a mandated (though already proven to be dysfunctional)
pair by force with bombing airplanes is literally, objectively speaking, insane.
Does any modified form of democracy work anywhere? I don't know. A limited form of democracy works in Cuba, but that's under the guidance of a benign leader so popular the majority aren't likely to betray him. Cuba's gradual expansion of that democracy, giving more decision making power to the majority, may not be working out. Constitutional limitations of democratic action in Cuba have proven to be a good idea, though some of those should be changed, some removed, and some added. This is actually being done, but that's a success of wise leadership NOT of democracy. What might be called democratic input in Cuba has often proven valuable when monitored and selected by wise leadership but has sometimes been destructive and clearly could be disastrous.
Keep it in mind that democracy IS just a means NOT an end. Though democracy has become a religion to America and its partners and in their client states (not wonderfully but unfortunately since that's why it's the scam of choice for the rich), besides really not being an end, it may not even be a necessary or desirable means. Fidel Castro seems to consider it at least useful, and I respect his judgement, but while democratic input in Cuba has worked, as acknowledged above, and the illusion (see Elections in Cuba on my other site) of ballot-box democracy (which is an illusion in America, too) may keep Cubans happier and therefore more cooperative for their own benefit with their wise leaders, I'm not sure this would be necessary if constant externally generated propaganda weren't a factor.
Maybe it has to be acknowledged in democracy's favor that, largely on Fidel's advice, one Latin American socialist movement after another has come into power recently through the ballot box, but that is with the momentum of a falling-domino movement that started with armed revolution and has been fueled in the 00's by the extreme ugliness of America's ugliest regime ever. A dubious pro-democracy movement undoubtedly helped, too, but that says more for the force of a politically correct movement than for democracy.
Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether even the pack-leading Venezuelan experiment will survive Chavez' stated intention to freeze progress at the democratic socialist phase rather than moving all the way to a less democratic but more socially and economically perfect communist conclusion. So far, the multi-country ballot-box socialist revolution in Latin America remains a proof only of Fidel's success in Cuba. And I fear that if it's mishandled, specifically in the foolish interest of democracy, it may not only crash but take Cuba down with it.
That would be a far greater tragedy than the failure of democracy, because Cuba is in the act of achieving the only logically desirable political END - the best life on earth that can be achieved for all the participants in a civized state - equally.
So, if not democracy, what? Frankly, unless an answer to the title question can be destilled from a study of Cuba, my working attitude is that, unless it hurts worse than the status quo, maybe the means doesn't matter. Anyway, I don't have any better answer than: the right leaders and the right circumstances. But this is clear. The pro-active determination and ongoing efforts of Washington to punish and even crush Cuba for making any progress that isn't achieved in Washington"s demonstrably unworkable way is monstrous.