Countries taking the initial steps from dictatorship toward electoral politics are especially prone to civil and international war. Yet states endowed with coherent institutions—such as a functioning bureaucracy and the elements needed to construct a sound legal system—have often been able to democratize peacefully and successfully. Consequently, whenever possible, efforts to promote democracy should try to follow a sequence of building institutions before encouraging mass competitive elections. Democratizing in the wrong sequence not only risks bloodshed in the short term, but also the mobilization of durable illiberal forces with the capacity to block democratic consolidation over the long term.
East Asia’s “third-wave” democracies are in distress, and the economic success of nondemocratic regimes in the region creates a tough standard for comparison.
By world standards, Latin Americans ideologically are slightly to the right. But their attitudes are moving leftward, a trend with potential implications for democratic stability in the region.
Survey data indicate that Africans support democracy and its formal institutions, but also point to the importance of the informal realm, particularly when formal institutions fail to meet popular expectations.
After a decade and a half, how do citizens of postcommunist Europe now feel toward their new governing regimes?
Sub-Saharan Africa has been traditionally depicted as a place where formal institutional rules are largely irrelevant-yet in the past fifteen years these rules have come to matter, and this trend is unlikely to reverse.
A review of A World Beyond Politics? A Defense of the Nation-State by Pierre Manent.
- Excerpts from the Berlin Declaration released by the European Union on March 25, the fiftieth anniversary of the Treaties of Rome which established the European Economic Community.
- Excerpts from an interview with Thich Quang Do—winner of the 2006 Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize for Human Rights Defenders—broadcast on March 16 by Radio Free Asia's Vietnamese Service.
- Excerpts from a speech delivered by President Traian Băsescu on 18 December 2006, at the presentation of a report by the newly established Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania.