Democracy and Democratization
Challenges and Opportunities
Thomas Sherlock, and
United States Military Academy
198 pages / paper / $37.95
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In the early 1990s, democracy was perceived to be on an unrivaled march forward. Today, pessimism abounds. In 2007, Freedom House identified a "freedom stagnation that has developed in the last decade" which has, arguably, intensified in the subsequent decade: their latest report indicated a ten-year decline in "global freedom" marked by the increasing repression of political rights and civil liberties long associated with the democratic ideal. Democracy, it appears, is struggling.
The 68th Student Conference on United States Affairs investigated the causes and consequences of this struggle with the hope that in adversity there will be found greater wisdom for future success. The essays in this volume are intended to inform this discussion of democracy’s future, and to place students in a position to engage some of the most difficult questions facing policymakers in the early twenty-first century.
The contributors to this volume address these and related questions, in essays that cast students as policymakers on the cusp of consequential decisions.
"It may seem counter-intuitive, but in many ways the best democratization policy has nothing to do with the State Department or the Pentagon. The best democratization policy is what we do at the federal level, at the state level, at the local level. The example we set in domestic American politics plays a crucial role because the rest of the world closely observes our behavior at home. What happens here doesn’t stay here. That is one of the attributes of globalization. So it is interesting to think of democracy not as a policy but simply as a reality as to how we carry out things every day …"
—Richard N. Haas, President, Council on Foreign Relations, from the Foreword