The stakes are enormous and the challenges are difficult, but a look at Iraq months after the toppling of Saddam Hussein reveals that, despite all the frustrating setbacks, grounds for cautious optimism remain.
Volume 15, Issue 1
Europe Moves Eastward
As it prepares to go from 15 to 25 member states, the EU has improved the prospects for democracy in the East, but nothing about enlargement promises to resolve the vexing issue of democracy within the EU structure itself.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the involvement of NATO and the EU with their prospective new members has worked strongly in favor of democratic governance in Central and Eastern Europe.
By expanding itself eastward, the EU has not so much settled the questions surrounding the “borders” of Europe as it has displaced them, changing their focus to take in new areas and new issues.
One of the most important events in post-Cold War international affairs, NATO enlargement is even more of a democratic milestone for the countries of Eastern Europe than is the expansion of the EU.
The fall of the Berlin Wall gave East Europeans a euphoric sense that they were about to give European democacy a new direction. But as many of their countries prepare to join the EU, little has worked out as expected in those heady days.
Despite the threats posed by terrorism, 2003 saw a second consecutive year of significant momentum of freedom, and showed encouraging evidence that political rights and civil liberties can endure despite economic privation.
Indonesia's Approaching Elections
For this huge, sprawling nation in the throes of an ambiguous transition, 2004 will be a year replete with unprecedented electoral tests. In the end, leadership and results will probably count for more than rules and institutions, however carefully designed.
In the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, a dense and pervasive network of moderate Muslim civil society organizations significantly reinforces political moderation and limiting the appeal of radical Islamism.
The advanced democracies are shifting from a reliance on representation toward a mixed repertoire that includes greater reliance on “direct” and “advocacy” democracy, creating new problems that will require new solutions.
Mexico’s 2003 congressional elections confirmed both the transition to fully competitive politics and the persistence of structural deficiencies associated with a multiparty presidential system.
It has been claimed in the pages of this journal that a homogeneous society is an advantage when it comes to democratization. How might this suggestion be empirically tested, and with what (perhaps preliminary) results?
A review of Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: The Russian Elections of 1999 and 2000 by Timothy J. Colton and Michael McFaul; Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State by David Satter; and Putin's Russia by Lilia Shevtsova.
Brief reports on elections in Azerbaijan, Croatia, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Mauritania, Rwanda, and Serbia.
Excerpts from a November 2003 interview with Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. Excerpts from a September 2003 speech by Hossein Khomeni, grandson of the founder and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Excerpts from a September 2003 statement issued by Václav Havel, Arpád Göncz, and…