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Steven Cook: Ruling But Not Governing

Interviewee: Steven A. Cook
Interviewer: Eben Kaplan
May 18, 2007

With U.S. policy in the Middle East increasingly focused on democracy promotion, a new book by CFR Douglas Dillon Fellow Steven Cook examines the approach several military-dominated regimes have taken toward democratization. Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey argues that the militaries in these nations shield themselves behind “a facade of democratic practices and principles” while continuing to control key institutions.

With military leaders reasserting themselves in Turkey and parliamentary elections taking place in Algeria, Cook’s work sheds light on some of the most current developments in the region. Cook says these case studies could also inform thinking on such trouble spots as Pakistan and Iraq.

In terms of democracy promotion, Cook says force and punitive measures have proven themselves ineffective. He argues for more carrots and fewer sticks in U.S. policy toward the Middle East.


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