Democracy Bound

Is the democracy cure a panacea or a placebo?

Issue: May-June 2008

AMERICAN FOREIGN policy identifies the ongoing spread of democracy around the world as a vital national interest, seeing other democratic states as "effective partners joining with us to promote global freedom and prosperity," in the words of the 2006 National Security Strategy. But events in the last few months of 2007-in countries as different as Pakistan, Kenya and Georgia-demonstrated that the challenges in spreading democracy are different than the ones the United States confronted more than a decade ago. It is no longer a clear-cut struggle between anti-Western dictators and pro-American masses struggling to be free, nor one of helping right-minded postauthoritarian leaders move their countries toward democracy.

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