Promoting Democracy

Great Decisions 2012 | Topic 2

Can democracy be exported?

by Larry Diamond

The U.S. has had a history of advancing and supporting democracy around the world. What place does democracy promotion have in U.S. foreign policy today? With a choice of tools ranging from economic aid to military force, what are the appropriate yet effective methods that the U.S. should use to promote democracy?
 

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Related Organizations

  • National Endowment for Democracy

    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 1,000 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.
     

     

  • Democracy International

    Democracy International, Inc. (DI) works on democracy and governance (DG) programs worldwide for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development partners. DI provides analytical services, offers technical assistance, and implements projects across the full range of DG programming
     

     

  • National Democratic Institute

    NDI and its local partners work to promote openness and accountability in government by building political and civic organizations, safeguarding elections, and promoting citizen participation. The Institute brings together individuals and groups to share ideas, knowledge, experiences and expertise that can be adapted to the needs of individual countries.
     

     

  • International Republican Institute

    A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law.
     

     

  • Freedom House

    Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world. Freedom House supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for democracy and human rights. Since its founding in 1941 by prominent Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy, Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a steadfast opponent of dictatorships of the far left and the far right.

     

Recommended Readings

  • Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places

    by Paul Collier

    In Wars, Guns, and Votes, Paul Collier investigates the violence and poverty in the small, remote countries at the lowest level of the global economy and argues that the spread of elections and peace settlements may lead to a brave new democratic world. For now and into the foreseeable future, however, nasty and long civil wars, military coups, and failing economies are the order of the day.

     

  • Democracy Challenges: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism

    by Marina Ottoway

    During the 1990s, international democracy promotion efforts led to the establishment of numerous regimes that cannot easily be classified as either authoritarian or democratic. They display characteristics of each; in short, they are semi-authoritarian regimes. These regimes pose a considerable challenge to US policymakers because the superficial stability of many semi-authoritarian regimes usually masks severe problems that need to be solved lest they lead to a future crisis.

     

  • Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies

    by Thomas Carothers

    Beset with persistent problems of self-interest, corruption, ideological incoherence, and narrow electoral majorities, political parties are the weakest link in many democratic transitions around the world. A large and ever-growing number of U.S., European, and multilateral assistance programs seek to help parties become effective pro-democratic actors. But given the depth of the problems, is success possible? Confronting the Weakest Link is a pathbreaking study of international aid for political parties.

     

  • The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World

    by Larry Diamond

    In 1974, nearly three-quarters of all countries were dictatorships; today, more than half are democracies. Yet recent efforts to promote democracy have stumbled, and many democratic governments are faltering. In this sweeping vision for advancing freedom around the world, renowned social scientist Larry Diamond examines how and why democracy progresses.

     

  • The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

    by Fareed Zakaria

    A modern classic that uses historical analysis to shed light on the present, The Future of Freedom is, as the Chicago Tribune put it, "essential reading for anyone worried about the promotion and preservation of liberty." Hailed by the New York Times as "brave and ambitious...updated Tocqueville," it enjoyed extended stays on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller lists and has been translated into eighteen languages.