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Democracy assistance - new world, new challenges
Democracy assistance - new world, new challenges
Timothy Garton Ash is similarly troubled by the challenge of authoritarian capitalism, or capitalist authoritarianism - “the biggest potential ideological competitor to liberal democratic capitalism since the end of communism” - which, unlike radical Islamism, has a potential mass appeal because, as the opening of the Beijing Olympics vividly demonstrated, it can “plausibly claim to be associated with economic, technological and cultural modernity.”
Saturday, September 20,2008 07:44
Demdigest.net

“Despite 25 years of growth in democracy assistance,” writes Carnegie democracy expert Thomas Carothers, “and many fine efforts by dedicated activists, such programs have never been coherently and solidly institutionalized in the U.S. foreign policy institutional landscape. Moreover, democracy work has never been well-integrated into the larger enterprise of supporting development abroad, an enterprise whose institutional core-the U.S. Agency for International Development-has gone from crisis to crisis rather than strength to strength.”

Reviewing James Traub’s new book - The Freedom Agenda: Why America Must Spread Democracy (Just Not the Way George Bush Did) - he argues that democracy promotion is facing radical new challenges, including the attraction of China’s “developmental authoritarianism“.

“The entire modern history of U.S. democracy promotion has been built on two implicit but fundamental ideas: that democracy is spreading in the world and that U.S. power is rising,” he suggests. But now, “for the first time in many years there are almost no more democracies in the world at the end of a decade as there were at the beginning of it. And after more than a century of growing U.S. power, the relative weight of the United States in international affairs has clearly plateaued, or even started to decline.”

Read the whole thing here.

Timothy Garton Ash is similarly troubled by the challenge of authoritarian capitalism, or capitalist authoritarianism - “the biggest potential ideological competitor to liberal democratic capitalism since the end of communism” - which, unlike radical Islamism, has a potential mass appeal because, as the opening of the Beijing Olympics vividly demonstrated, it can “plausibly claim to be associated with economic, technological and cultural modernity.”

He suggests that future historians may consider the three decades from Portugal’s revolution in 1974 to Ukraine’s Orange revolution in 2004 not as an episode in the relentless forward march of democracy, but as an exceptional “trente glorieuses for the spread of liberty” across Europe, Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia.

“The future of freedom,” he concludes, “now depends on the possibility of new versions of modernity evolving - whether in India, China or the Muslim world, which are distinctly non-western yet also recognisably liberal, in the core sense of cherishing individual freedom.”


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