Democratization

Primary Sources

President Obama's Remarks on Europe

President Barack Obama spoke at the Palais Des Beaux Arts in Brussels on March 26, 2014. He spoke about the history of formation of democracies in Europe and the importance of maintaining European regional security and the sovereignty of individual countries. President Obama argued for the United States and other countries to support Ukraine and to isolate the Russian government after Russia's annexation of Crimea.

See more in Europe; Russian Federation; Democratization; International Law

Must Read

Cairo Review of Global Affairs: Legitimizing an Undemocratic Process in Egypt

Author: Michele Dunne

"It will be nearly impossible for observers to do a credible job under the present conditions in Egypt. And even if the referendum goes smoothly, it is not at all clear that the vote will make a meaningful contribution to getting Egypt back onto a democratic path. Observers and foreign governments, including the United States, would do well to make sure that their engagement and statements keep the focus on the big picture of Egypt's worrisome trajectory."

See more in Egypt; Elections; Democratization

Op-Ed

Democracy in Egypt Can Wait

Author: Charles A. Kupchan
New York Times

Washington should temper its push for democracy in Egypt and the wider Mideast, focusing more on helping transitional states govern responsibly and peaceably, says CFR's Charles Kupchan.

See more in Egypt; Democratization

Ask CFR Experts

Why have many Muslim states struggled to achieve democracy?

Asked by Farah, from University of Karachi

If "democracy" is achieved when governments rule by consent through free and fair elections, then some of the world's largest Muslim nations are democratic: Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Turkey. In the Arab world, experiments to achieve democratic governance are underway in Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia, and are beginning in earnest in Egypt. Arguably, Pakistan has just witnessed its first democratic transition of power.

Read full answer

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Democratization

News Release

How to Establish Democracy? New Book Examines Pathways

As countries from Libya to Tunisia to Myanmar navigate complex paths to democracy, a new CFR book offers insights and recommendations from political and economic transitions that have unfolded in recent decades. "By understanding the trade-offs and critical economic and policy decisions that transitioning countries have faced in the past, policymakers can make smarter choices to improve the chances of successful democratization in states undergoing transitions today," write Isobel Coleman, CFR senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, and Terra Lawson-Remer, CFR fellow, in Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions.

See more in Democratization

Audio

Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions

Speakers: John Campbell, Isobel Coleman, and Terra Lawson-Remer
Presider: Gideon Rose

John Campbell, Isobel Coleman, and Terra Lawson-Remer discuss their new Council on Foreign Relations book, Pathways to Freedom, which offers an authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help.

See more in Democratization