Volume: 
18
Issue: 
3

The Sequencing "Fallacy"

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.

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Liberalism versus State-Building

In certain circumstances, both liberalism and popular rule can obstruct rather than promote state-building.

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The Vain Hope for "Correct" Timing

The history of many of today’s established democracies shows that “out-of-sequence” democratization can lead to eventual success.

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Misunderstanding Gradualism

Unlike pessimistic scholars and recalcitrant autocrats, most ordinary citizens are inclined to take the risks of choosing democracy when they can.

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Personalizing Power in Uganda

For more than two decades, President Yoweri Museveni has been building an authoritarian regime that answers closely to his personal will.

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When Will the Chinese People Be Free?

Rising levels of wealth and schooling make it highly likely that China will be a "Partly Free" country by 2015 and a "Free" one ten years after that.

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How Will China Democratize?

No one should underrate the will and skill that the ruling Chinese Communist Party will put into keeping its grip on power.

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China's Long March to Freedom

China is gradually changing. In the coming years, the pursuit of individual dignity and human rights will increasingly come to the fore.

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The Democracy Barometers (Part I): Authoritarian Nostalgia in Asia

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.

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The Democracy Barometers (Part I): The Rise of Populism and the Left in Latin America

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.

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The Democracy Barometers (Part I): Formal versus Informal Institutions in Africa

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.

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The Democracy Barometers (Part I): Learning to Support New Regimes in Europe

After a decade and a half, how do citizens of postcommunist Europe now feel toward their new governing regimes?

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The Institutionalization of Political Power in Africa

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.

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The Decline of the African Military Coup

Since the early 1990s, many African countries have undergone political liberalization, and so far this trend has been accompanied by a significant drop in the incidence of military coups.

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Communism’s Many Legacies in East-Central Europe

Democracy is facing hard times in the region, but the shape of the problems varies according to the differing informal legacies of communism in individual countries.

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Books in Review: A World Beyond Politics? A Defense of the Nation-State

A review of A World Beyond Politics? A Defense of the Nation-State by Pierre Manent.

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Election Watch, July 2007

Reports on recent elections in Algeria, Armenia, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo (Brazzaville), Estonia, Jordan, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Senegal, Timor-Leste, and Togo.

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Documents on Democracy

  • 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.
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