The twentieth century has been called "the American century," but it appears that the twenty-first may be dominated by anti-Americanism, an all-purpose ideology that poses a serious obstacle to the progress of democracy.
Volume 15, Issue 2
Weak or failed states are at the root of many serious global problems, from poverty and AIDS to drug trafficking and terrorism, to the failure of democratic government itself. State-building must become a priority for the world community.
Christianity and Democracy
Long wary of the modern state as such, the Roman Catholic church became a champion of democratic government around the time of Vatican II, and helped to set off the Thrird Wave of democratization.
Historical and other evidence from around the world suggests that Protestantism has helped to create a web of mediating factors—from higher literacy to lower corruption to active civic groups—that encourage self-government.
Orthodoxy’s difficult historical experiences have made it ambivalent toward democatic pluralism, but that may be changing, with believers in established democacies leading the way.
That modern democracy first arose with the ambit of Western Christianity is far from an accident. Today, the major Christain communions largely support democracy, even while necessarily retaining the right to criticize democratic decisions in the name fo religious truth claims.
A through, deliberat, and consultative constitution-making process, which takes account of key lessons learned in other countries, will be essential to the legitimacy of a new Iraqi constitution and to the future of democracy.
Constitution writers in ethnically or otherwise divided countries should focus on designing a system of power-sharing rules and institutions. Studies by political scientists point to a set of basic recommendations that should form a starting point for constitutional negotiations.
Events last November confouned expectations set by the failure of democratization in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics, and should prompt new reflections on how fragile openings to democacy may be sustained and widened.
Change in Uganda
The decision by Uganda’s leaders to abandon the country’s “movement” system and adopt multiparty pluralism creates a significant opportunity for democratic progress.
Uganda’a move to a multiparty system is really a maneuver by President Yoweri Museveni to prolong his stay in power beyond the two-term limit mandated by the constitution.
East Timor, which emerged from a tragic and bloody past to gain full independence in 2002, offers a factinating case of democratization in a small developing country with a shallow history of democracy.
In an exchange of letters, leading Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya discusses with Vaclav Havel the lessons that the Czechoslovak experience offers to Cubans seeking a democratic transition in thier own country.
A review of Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025 by Mark Palmer.
Reports on elections in Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Iran, Russia, and Serbia.
Excerpts from a United Nations report on the feasibility of early elections and possible alternatives in Iraq; an inaugural address by Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili delivered in Tbilisi on January 25; a letter signed by more than 100 reformist Iranian parliamentarians criticizing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for approving the Guardian Council disqualification of more…