Democracy possesses many commonly held values of humankind, however the development process of democracy differs from country to country, exhibiting particular characteristics shaped by specific historical circumstances, according to a Vietnamese social scientist.

Associate Professor-PhD of Social Science Nguyen An Ninh writes that in Vietnam , democracy boasts typical characteristics that made the country’s regime different from others.

Firstly, the current socialist democratic regime in Vietnam is the first ever democratic regime in the country’s political history.

The Declaration of Independence for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam read by President Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi on September 2, 1945 marked the very start of Vietnam ’s first democratic regime.

Previously, Vietnam ’s socio-political and economic life was ruled over by feudal, semi-feudal and colonial systems for many centuries.

The prominent feature of these systems was that the people had no right to participate in the country’s political life, let alone impose their will and aspirations upon the governing administrations’ political structures.
Therefore, there were few or even no mechanisms established for implementing democracy. A person’s fate as well as his/her rights and obligations depended on the society, the community or the crowd.

At that time, the development of socio-political life was often dependent on the virtue, ethics and capability of one single man – the king – who had been placed on the pinnacle of power in the absence of a people’s election. And, this situation happened for thousands of years until September 2, 1945.

Vietnam ’s first democratic regime was born during the national liberation revolution and it was the fruit of the entire people’s struggle for liberation under the leadership of a communist party.

This first democratic regime brought to the Vietnamese people the most fundamental human rights, including the right to live.

We should remember that even the right to live, which is the first and most fundamental right of humans, had been threatened and stolen in a famine triggered by Japanese fascists in 1945 which claimed the lives of nearly 2 million people, or one tenth of Vietnam ’s population at the time.

The new regime also gave the people the right to be a citizen of an independent and free country, the right to participate in the country’s political life, and other rights and interests.

These rights were stringently enforced from the very first day of the new regime. The first general election was organised successfully within several months of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was proudly announced.

Secondly, Vietnam ’s first democratic regime had its roots in a struggle to win and defend national independence for which generations of Vietnamese people had contributed not only their brainpower but also their blood. This regime was not established through a democratic parliament as in many countries in the world.

The reality of Vietnam ’s political history in the 20 th century showed that only when a country is free and independent, can its people enjoy democracy and society become republican.

Throughout the 20 th century, the Vietnamese people undertook to defend their national independence, along with building and developing democracy.

During the course of time, generations of Vietnamese people understood that the most important thing was national independence and freedom.

President Ho Chi Minh used to say that “nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”.

That is the reason why Vietnam has built its concepts on citizens’ rights and obligations, as well as institutional tools and mechanisms to implement democracy around this philosophy.

In many cases, the country viewed national independence and freedom as the same as democracy and equality in the meaning of the right to exist and develop like other nations.

In that sense, Vietnam could gain freedom and democracy only when it was in peace, unified and independent and its people freed from slave status.

Therefore, Vietnam ’s adoption of a socialist democratic regime aimed to exercise the right to exist and develop like other nations around the world.

Thirdly, the socialist democratic regime was the evolvement of democracy at a higher degree.

Looking back to the historical background where Vietnam began the course of building and developing democracy, it can be seen that we must work harder and harder in order to thoroughly capture the nature of socialist democracy.
It is inevitable when there are things that are incomplete or fail to match the ideal standards in the first democratic regime in a country where no democratic regime existed before.

Therefore, it is easy to identify and explain the incomplete features of the current democracy in Vietnam .

Vietnam has been undertaking the building of its socialist democratic regime in the context of a tiny, underdeveloped economy after enduring wars to defend national independence and reunification for dozens of years and dealing with several socio-economic structural upheavals.

In such circumstances it is clear that Vietnam has not yet developed a perfect democracy, so it is making efforts to narrow the gaps between reality and the goals it has set.

However, it is noticeable that though still under construction, the socialist democratic regime in Vietnam has brought into full play its pre-eminent characteristics.

The regime has stood side by side with the nation in the struggle for national independence, freedom and reunification and contributed significantly to the socio-economic development strides Vietnam has made in its journey of renewal.

The economic and socio-political backgrounds of this socialist democratic regime have laid the foundation for Vietnam to advance toward a just, democratic and civilised society and ensured the fundamental human rights for its citizens.

Obviously, problems arise in the course of developing democracy in Vietnam .

Such problems as bureaucracy, corruption and power-driven depravity were inevitable and common, as they have been found in almost all modern democratic regimes in the world. They also had subjective causes that came from the process of building democracy.

However, based on a well-constructed foundation, the house of democracy, though messy with the litter of construction work, has astonishingly bright prospects.

Fourthly, the principle of democracy ruled only by a single governing class through its political party matches Vietnam ’s developmental process.

Proceeding from the view that the core and the nature of the development of democracy in Vietnam was that power belongs to the people, with the first and fundamental value being economic rights, Vietnam has given importance to promoting economic development and ensuring advancement and fairness in the field.

The country has also realised that it needed to concentrate on mobilising all available resources as well as political will for accomplishing its big goals, such as winning independence and freedom or spurring socio-economic development.

In this case, the principle of a single, strongly focused political party seems to be the most suitable solution to Vietnam .

In its very essence, this is a condition for deploying democracy as it demonstrates the centralised nature of the democratic regime. In any democratic regime, the manifestation of the centralised nature is reflected in its adoption of a constitution and laws in order to serve its operation.

Under the communist party’s leadership, Vietnam has given the top priority to promoting democracy in the economic field.

In the past national democratic revolution, farmers, who accounted for 90 percent of the population, were provided with farming land thanks to the communist party’s land reform policy.

Recently, as the country has pursued a renewal policy, the people have been given favourable conditions to exercise their right to do business in a multi-sectoral economy operating under socialist-oriented market mechanisms.

Thanks to these efforts, Vietnam has weathered the critical economic crisis in late 1980s. Not only with that, the country’s production has grown robustly and the people’s living conditions have improved remarkably.

Achieving an economic growth along with ensuring social advancement and equality has become the Communist Party of Vietnam’s consistent policy in spurring socio-economic development.

With that policy, a series of fundamental rights of democracy have been exercised in Vietnam .

The people have enjoyed the right to be in pursuit of prosperity and happiness and benefit entirely from the fruits of their labour.

Society has grown in a dynamic and positive manner toward fairness, democracy and civilisation. It has accepted social differences as long as these differences have not been against the nation’s common interests and cared for all members of society in terms of developmental chances and benefits they could have.

An important thing worthy to be noted here was that coupled with robust socio-economic growth, the renewal process and the transformation of economic mechanisms in Vietnam has been taking place in the context of socio-political stability – a state that not all countries undertaking renovation and reforms have been able to enjoy.

After carefully studying these issues, it can be noted that developing democracy based on the principle of a single party is a perfect fit with reality in Vietnam .

And neither is this method an exception in the region or the world.

In recent decades, the newly-industrialised countries and territories, which are named as “the Dragons of Asia”, such as Singapore , Taiwan , and the Republic of Korea , have all relied on similar political platforms to produce “magical” gains in their socio-economic status as well as in the promotion of democracy.

However, it is obvious that there is always another side of the coin in democracy promotion.

The Communist Party of Vietnam has clearly noticed threats of depravity and degradation inside its socialist democracy.

The acts of violation of democracy, bureaucratic bungling, corruption, and alienation from the people have occurred and cascaded into negative impacts on the evolvement of democracy.

In its leadership capacity, the Communist Party of Vietnam has frankly admitted these problems and showed its resolve to address them.

Here, the people have exercised their right to mastery and implemented democracy to contribute largely to successes in the battle against corruption and bureaucracy, and democratic violation.

The people have helped to bring to light many cases of corruption and degradation committed by State officials.

This exposure should be regarded as a major achievement for Vietnam in promoting democracy.

Fifthly, the process of developing democracy in Vietnam has been embraced by the entire political system and people from all walks of life.

This characteristic is particularly unique in comparison to the development of democracy in some other countries during their “colour revolutions” over several recent decades.

In those countries, democracy promotion has often occurred inside only a part of political system, reflecting mainly in the transfer of power from one political group to another political group.

In Vietnam , the difference has been noticeable, since democracy promotion has taken place in parallel at both macro and micro levels and from the central to the grassroots and vice versa, thus making a comprehensive and deep-reaching movement.

The Communist Party of Vietnam is the initiator of policies and guidelines pertaining to democratisation of socio-political life in Vietnam .

With that key social responsibility, renewing the content and operational methods of the entire political system has been crucial with the focus on renewing the Party’s leadership of the State, and stepping up democratisation in the Party, administrative reforms in the State, and reforms in the judiciary sector. This plan has been made specific with the support of policies, ordinances and laws.

Coupled with that, supervision and social feedback by political organisations like the National Assembly and the Fatherland Front has been accelerated to ensure the correctness and conformity of the process of democratisation, thus gaining the people’s backing for related political decisions.

Many plans and policies issued by the Party and State have been publicised for the purpose of gathering the people’s comments via surveys, polls or the mass media.

Such social participation and examination have nurtured the formation of a developmental trend from the grassroots level that has contributed greatly to democracy promotion.

It can be seen that in many cases, movements made from the grassroots level and specific approaches taken by each locality to meet its needs have helped promote democratisation in Vietnam . This has been noticeable, especially during the renovation process.

Such movements have been called by various names, such as “xe rao” (breaking the line), “bung ra” (busting), or “khoan chui” (unofficial piecework assignment).

These acts have reflected the strong proactive spirit in political and social fronts although they were outside regulations and mismatched with the legal framework at the time.

They have been seen as responses of democracy and represented requirements of reality at the grassroots level.

It is noted that in dealing with these movements, the central government has shown respect and a democratic attitude.

Though making several adjustments, the central government has allowed these movements to occur on a trial basis to help in drawing lessons for future improvements.

Later, many active movements made at the grassroots level have been recognised and have contributed to shaping a national renewal plan for the country.

In time, the “central to grassroots and vice versa” trends merged and incorporated into a driving force to boost the promotion of democracy.

Learning from the experiences of this work, Vietnam stipulated regulations on grassroots democracy in 1998 and developed it into an ordinance in 2007.

The move has been acknowledged by international friends as creative and suitable for promoting democracy.

The characteristics presented above have reflected particular features and differences and shaped Vietnam ’s own approaches to the promotion of democracy.

Accepting and respecting differences is also a principle of modern democracy. Perhaps with its own unique characteristic features, Vietnam may make active contributions to the commonwealth of humankind’s democracy.

In his article, PhD Nguyen An Ninh also notes that apart from developing democracy based on its own characteristics, Vietnam has proactively learnt and applied creatively many democratic values of humankind to further perfect its own democracy.

The socialist regime in Vietnam has held high and adhered to the principle of democratos – power belonging to the people.

This was the revolutionary goal that Ho Chi Minh defined as early as in 1925.

The President said, “We have sacrificed our lives for revolution – we should pursue it to the end. After the revolution is won, power should be handed over to the majority of people, don’t leave it in the hands of the minority. So, more sacrifices need not to be made and the people can enjoy happiness”.

That principle has been interpreted into reality with the establishment of the State power system whose personnel are elected, and responsibilities and rights are set, by the people.

The rights and obligation of citizens (including the rights to election, supervision and dismissal of State agencies) have been prescribed clearly in the constitution and practised in reality.

The country’s big decisions have been made by the National Assembly, which is the most powerful agency representing the people’s will.

Vietnam has also inherited a number of principles of managing democracy, including general elections, the principle of centralised democracy, the supreme role of constitution and laws in social life, and the implementation of representative democracy in combination with direct democracy.

In building a socialist law-governed State of the people, by the people and for the people, the unity of State power is based on the assignment and coordination in performing three rights: legislation, execution and justice, under the leadership of the Communist Party. This can be considered a combination of humankind values and a creative application to Vietnam ’s specific conditions. This is an inheritance of organisational experience, structure and functions of the three most important parts of the State, plus the principle that the highest power belongs to the people.

It could be understood that unity is the foundation while the assignment and coordination are methods of achieving unified State power. The Party’s leadership also aims to ensure smooth coordination and strict adherence to the Constitution and law.

Building a socialist law-governed State of the people, by the people and for the people is a basic way of promoting the people’s right to mastery and guaranteeing that the State’s power belongs to the people.

The State’s power is defined by the Constitution and laws. The State manages society with the law and promotes the rights of all people and citizens. The State strengthens the legal system and deals with all violations of the law in a strict and fair manner in order to protect the rights to democracy and freedom and the legitimate interests of citizens, to prevent the abuse of power of State agencies and employees, to preclude the abuse of democracy and indiscipline, thus ensuring the efficiency of management operations.

Vietnam ’s Constitution and laws also confirm citizens’ right to join in managing the State and society, discussing common issues for the whole nation and localities and making recommendations to State agencies.

Citizens of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are guaranteed all fundamental rights to freedom, including the rights to equality before the law, free and fair elections, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, complaints and denouncements. Those rights to freedom are a foundation for the people to inspect the State’s operations and are one of the important methods to implement democracy.

Caring for people, protecting legitimate rights and interests of all people; observing and performing international conventions on human rights that Vietnam has already signed or joined in; renewing institutions, identifying the responsibility of administrations at all levels, agencies, officials and State employees to deal with complainants and denouncements lodged by citizens; implementing the regulations on democracy, expanding democracy at grassroots level and creating better conditions for the people to engage in managing society, discussing and deciding important are important contents in the enforcement of the Constitution and laws and the development of democracy in Vietnam.

The socialist democratic regime in Vietnam also acknowledges that society is unified in diversity, accepts and respects differences in terms of class, ethnicity, religion and gender of communities.

The rights to equality and freedom of each community are prescribed and protected by the law based on democratic principles: minority complies with majority, but minority has the right to have and keep their differences, providing that these differences do not go counter to the nation’s common interests; tolerance, cooperation and dialogue to deal with differences, disputes and conflicts. “Taking the goal of maintaining national independence and unification and for a rich people, a strong country, an equitable, democratic, civilized society the common ground to unite compatriots from ethnic groups, religions and all walks of life at home and overseas; abolishing all complexes, preconceptions and discriminations against the past and classes. Respecting different opinions that do not go counter to the nation’s interests. Upholding the tradition of benevolence and tolerance and building up a spirit of openness and mutual trust for political stability and social consensus.”

By accepting and inheriting humankind’s democratic values, the process of renewal and development of democracy in Vietnam has achieved a lot of successes, thereby making many important contributions to the world. For example, the implementation of the Regulations on Grassroots Democracy (since 2007 the Ordinance on Grassroots Democracy) was evaluated as, “a creation in realising the principle of the people, by the people and for the people in political reality” and “a scientific political movement in line with modern democracy”.

With a proactive and positive participation in international and regional cooperation, the process of developing democracy in Vietnam proves that its nature incorporates democratic values of humankind and also through this process Vietnam contributes greatly to democracy in the modern world.

The author noted an outstanding phenomenon that many people discuss democracy and the development of democracy in Vietnam . Besides constructive opinions, there are still a lot of misunderstandings or calculated intentions.

Following are the most noteworthy cases:

Many people are impatient to speed up the process of democratisation regardless of objective conditions.

The cause of renewal in Vietnam includes economic reforms and step-by-step political reforms and both aspects are closely connected and mutually supported.

Economic reforms focus on stepping up industrialisation and modernisation and building a socialist-oriented market economy.

Political reforms aims for the major goal of perfecting the political system to foster the development of socialist democracy and focus on maintaining the Party’s leadership, renewing the Party’s method of leadership; reforming the State’s administration, creating a socialist law-governed State of the people, by the people and for the people; upholding citizens’ proactive involvement in politics and the people’s right to mastery.

It is obvious that the process of renewal still has much to be done and cannot be accomplished in a short time. Being aware of this, Vietnam has already defined a path and planned scientifically and cautiously. Vietnam has also recorded a wide range of major achievements of historical significance during the renewal process.

However, a number of people have yet to recognise or intentionally ignore this fact, and want to speed up the process regardless of conditions. Sometimes, their impatience makes them contradict themselves: although they do not recognise Vietnam ’s market economy they still desire to use it as a lever to promote democracy. They want to accelerate political reforms but at them same time purposefully create instability such as issues related to human rights, religion and ethnic minorities, to hamper Vietnam’s comprehensive reforms.

Many people try to explain the incomplete status of democracy in Vietnam with extreme and unfair interpretations.

The objective difficulties of a developing economy and the complicated background of a society in the process of economic restructuring seem to be intentionally ignored by a number of people and for them, the only problem is democracy.

They are extreme to such an extent that they consider democratic development is only for “democracy”, not for growth combined with social progress and equality.

D emocratisation in Vietnam does not have itself as a target but is aimed at stepping up industrialisation and modernisation for the goal of a rich people, a strong country, a democratic, equitable and civilised society.

The development of democracy is aimed at creating favourable conditions for socio-economic development. Only in this way, can democracy play a positive role in the development of a nation.

In addition, a number of people use the status of incomplete democracy in Vietnam as the reason behind every social issue.

In their opinion, the lack of democracy is blamed for such issues as economic underdevelopment, incomplete exploitation of potential and advantages, social inequality, waste, red tape and corruption. According to this interpretation, the settlement of the democratic issue would be a “magic wand” for Vietnam .

With this way of thought and argument, they would finally negate the socialist democratic regime in Vietnam . Hence, outwardly they seem to make suggestions and discussions to promote the development of democracy, but in fact it is a sabotage of democracy. And obviously, they would write out a prescription of Western-style democratisation.

While discussing this issue, many like to cite the US democracy as a model. But few people debate how the US democracy is operating – is it absolutely perfect or does it have shortcomings? Is the US political system really a pluralist system and therefore, does it have a premise suitable to a democratic regime? A number of “pro-democracy” activists consider it as a starting point to criticise singular politics, citing a lack of democratic foundations, arguing that pluralism builds democracy and is able to balance power and reduce the occurrence of arbitrary actions.

Outwardly, the US political arena seems to have quite a lot of political parties. However, in the country’s largest political activity – the presidential elections – there are only two bourgeois factions called the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the final race. The class nature of the two parties is the same – that is the party of the bourgeois class, by the bourgeois class and for the bourgeois class. Noam Chomsky – a well-known researcher of US politics – once said frankly: “Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party”. (In an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel on October 28, 2008.)

Why did Chomsky conclude that? If US parties want to run for and win the elections they do not have to announce a better or a more convincing platform for democratic development. The issue lies in another place: it is the power of money. In the US , if you have little or no money, you should not think about engaging in politics or democracy. The US electoral mechanism forces candidates to be a capitalist or a person who is backed by capitalists. Candidates must have money to conduct election campaigns, entice voters and hire mass media such as TV and newspapers to popularize and polish up their images, and at the same time, to lower and denigrate their rivals. You might not have enough money to engage in such affairs but there will be sponsors – rich capitalist individuals or capitalist groups – who are ready to pay. However, after you win the elections, “you have to obey us”, you must promulgate policies which benefit the capitalists or the capitalist interest groups.

Money and power are usually connected and they look to each other for profits, not for democracy. Of course, the loudest voice in US politics remains the democratic principles and the implementation of these principles. However, democracy in the US sometimes is considered a brand name or label for someone to engage in affairs other than democracy development. Barack Obama wrote in his book “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” that US democracy has been divided and deviated by pluralism and a multiparty mechanism. This mechanism seems to pose challenges to the principles that have served as a firm foundation for the nation since its founding, when it produces extreme variants and deviations in the political system.

Democracy. This word seems to delude many people into thinking that politics can make democracy in the way bakers make bread. But if you want to have bread you must have wheat flour first, the skills of a baker are not enough. Also in the above book, in his capacity as an insider, Obama wrote that politics has become a business and not a mission.

The so-called arguments are actually little better than performances. High-faluting words are used for immoral purposes and the most noble emotions could be sabotaged for power, schemes, rapacity and intolerance. Intolerant interests compete to gain the advantage, and minority groups try to impose their thoughts on the absolute truth. From this view, we can understand the nature of that so-called democracy really is.

Vietnam does not repudiate the intrinsic values of mankind contained in other democracies and is ready to adopt reasonable factors. However, reality suggests that not every difference is new and not every new thing is reasonable.

In conclusion, researcher Nguyen An Ninh affirms that consistency to socialism is an inherent demand of the development process of democracy in Vietnam

As its basic target, the socialist democracy has to perfect the democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.

This process’s typical character is that it sprang from the requirements of economic development, and from the socio-political point of view – it is a process that involves the people’s proactive and voluntary participation.

It takes the perfection of the socialist political system’s organisation and operation as a basic solution to uphold the people’s right to mastery.

Vietnam ’s method for development of democracy is to perfect and renew but not change the political regime.

The development of democracy in Vietnam is the continuation of the rule, “National independence is closely associated with socialism”. It is carried out under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, in the process of developing and perfecting the State’s nature “of the people, by the people and for the people”; in the period of renewing and improving the organisation and mode of operation of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; and in upholding working people’s right to mastery through mass organisations. It is realised through numerous practical measures, typically the implementation of the “Ordinance of democracy at grass-roots level”.

Consistency to socialism in the process of democracy development in Vietnam is not a “self-defensive reaction’ but a basic cause for democracy development. It is an inner logic of the socialist democratic regime in Vietnam .

The development of the socialist democracy at first originates from the demands of development and comprehensive renewal, from the process of renovation and completion of the democracy, as well as from the lesson of making people the roots of society and the democratic regime’s nature “of the people, by the people, for the people” in Vietnam.

This nature has been proven many times in the renewal process through people’s diversified creativeness. Vietnam ’s experience is drawn from the renovation process: “Take the people for the roots” and “The renovation should be based on the people” is a reflection of this logic.

The development of socialist democracy in Vietnam is an inner process. This was defined by three basic driving forces that are giving impetus to the process: Firstly, the interest and a basic unity of interests between subjects of the socialist democracy serves as a core impetus to Vietnam ’s development of democracy.

The hub of this issue is that Vietnam has found a proper solution to its own unique circumstances: providing an opportunity for development and increasing the ability to choose an opportunity for all classes of people is the specific character of the solution to harmonise all interests in the socialist-oriented market economy.

The working class’s interest is identical with the whole nation’s interest in the target of “A wealthy people, a strong country, and an equal, democratic and civilised society, making a great unanimity in the society”, thus helping create a general consensus in the society.

In addition, the acceptance of differences of among social interest groups and the establishment of fairness during the process of implementing these interests have created a great impetus to the development of socialist democracy.

Interests of individuals, collectives and the whole society are harmoniously combined through the implementation of an economic policy to diversify forms of ownership and develop a multi-sectoral commodity production economy.

Economic sectors are important components of a socialist-oriented market economy which are equal before the law.

A new concept of social equality, at first the equality of development opportunities and democratisation in the socio-economic life of all people and all economic subjects, has encouraged the strong development of productive forces.

The acceptance of inequality, aiming to step by step abolish injustice, is a practical solution to ensure the legitimate interests of labourers and create impetus to the development of production.

“The application of regulations of distribution based on working results and economic efficiency concurrently with capital contribution from other resources and through social welfare”, in combination with the implementation of social policies such as hunger elimination and poverty alleviation, encouragement to legal enrichment, and care for human development helped to solve harmoniously the issue of interests and create an economic foundation for the development of democracy in Vietnam.

Secondly, to increase the strength and efficiency of the political system, and to promote the working people’s right to mastery is the main and direct force in developing democracy.

“Democracy is the rule of formation, development and self-perfection of the socialist political system, it is both a target and a driving force to our society’s renewal cause.”

From the reality of the renewal, the operation of Vietnam ’s political system itself has clarified many issues related to the socialist democratic regime: all power belonging to the people, the Party taking the role of leadership, building a law-governed socialist state – the backbone of the democracy.

It is impossible to develop a socialist democracy without the decisive role of the political system. Many rights of citizens have been institutionalised and realised, many democratic achievements have been summed up and drawn from the practical experiences of the people.

The people’s socio-political activeness and the enthusiasm for creativity are a huge energy source for the socialist democracy development process.

Thirdly, to maintain and reinforce the national great unity based on the alliance between the working class and the peasantry and intelligentsia under the Party’s leadership is also “a main impetus to develop the country’ and the socialist democracy.

This is a key opinion about the relationship between the democracy and the solidarity that helps create a unanimity for “the nation’s major goals”.

These realities define the current development process of the socialist democracy in Vietnam as a process moving in a positive direction. Its characteristics and access to various democratic values of humankind also show that Vietnam ’s development process of democracy is in accordance with the common rule and needs understanding and support from friends in the region and the world./.