Why is there no love for the American system of government?
The British have a parliamentary system of government, and many ex-British colonies follow this lead, but it seems like Iraq has set one up as well. I understand Canada, India, Australia, and other Commonwealth countries following the British model, but it seems weird that no other country follows the American model (at least none that I know of). In the British system, the prime minister is selected after the elections, when it's determined which party has the most members. The leader of that party becomes the prime minister. That's all well and good, but what's strange about the parliamentary system is that elections are held at any time. In Britain, they have to occur at least every five years, but there's no specific time for one. There's also no reason for a prime minister to ever give up his or her job. As long as his or her party wins the majority in the election, the prime minister could, conceivably, continue forever. I know this never happens, but there's no reason it couldn't. I wonder if this is a reason it's popular with nascent democracies - the prime minister can feel just like a dictator, and it's easier to shift from "prime minister for a long time" to "prime minister for life!"
I know there's a lot more to the British parliamentary system, but it seems a bit more unstable than ours. Not in Britain, of course, but they've been tinkering with it for 800 years. If the government can "fail" at any time and new elections be called, what's to stop despots from taking advantage of that? I know, a despot can take advantage of any system, but whenever you read about democracies falling apart, it starts with a prime minister getting a "no confidence" vote and the government needing a re-org. In the chaos, someone moves in and takes over. Yet countries keep trying it. I wonder why they don't look to the American model.
I admit that the American model isn't perfect. There's probably not enough direct democracy, although given the opinions of some people, that might be a good thing. But we always know when we have elections, and we usually know when there will be a new head of state. To all those people who bitched and moaned about what a wannabe dictator George Bush was, I would point out that we knew, with absolute certainty, that on 20 January 2009, we'd have a new president. It wasn't up for debate. Now, you can argue that the policies he put in place will be hard to undo (whether they should or not is something others can argue about), but the fact is, in 2006 or 2003 or whenever you started hating Bush, you knew that, at the latest, his last day in office would be 20 January 2009. There's no vote of no confidence in our system that destroys a government just because the opposition party is pissy about something. That may suck (I'm sure several Democrats would have liked to bring down the Bush government and install one of their own), but in the long run, it's fine. What did the Democrats do instead? They campaigned for Congress in 2006, when the elections were scheduled, won back the majority, and then got back the presidency in 2008, when elections were scheduled. And now, just like every four or eight years, we have a peaceful transfer of power. No fuss, no muss. If the Republicans don't like it, they have the 2010 and 2012 elections to gear up for. In the meantime, they can try to sway voters and even other members of Congress with more moderate policies. Or they can wait for Obama and the Democrats to screw up. It's not perfect.
It just seems to me that the American system is more stable than the British system. I get that the United States often doesn't have a stellar reputation overseas, but neither does Great Britain, so why is their system so much more attractive than ours? The United States, after all, has been the most stable government in the world for 226 years, and that's saying something. I'm not saying that countries shouldn't adopt the parliamentary system, because the Brits have made it work, but I often wonder why our republican system isn't more portable. Any ideas?