Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick details the region's startling democratic regression, assesses the reasons behind this recent stagnation, examines the role of the United States, and offers recommendations for policy options to help support the foundations of democracy in Southeast Asia.
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.
"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."
The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor produced this report. The preface states, "Pursuant to the Advancing Democratic Values Act of 2007, the Department of State has prepared this report on U.S. efforts to promote democracy and human rights in nondemocratic countries and countries undergoing democratic transitions worldwide."
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.
Egypt faces a cycle of instability, writes Joshua Kurlantzick, but it can break that rotation if it manages expectations in the early years of emerging democracy and takes lessons from Nelson Mandela's post-apartheid South Africa and Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva's Brazil.
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.
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.
With concise historical analysis and forward-looking prescriptions, Pathways to Freedom 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.
Isobel Coleman hosts Shannon O'Neil for a discussion about the political and economic transition of Mexico and Brazil as part of a Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative series on Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Transitioning Countries.
President Barack Obama and Burmese President Thein Sein gave these remarks after their meeting on May 20, 2013. Their meeting was the first time in fifty years a leader from Myanmar had visited the United States.
Political change is happening all the time in China, though the government is not leading the charge. Rather, the Chinese people are advancing political change through advocacy by nongovernmental organizations, communication via the Internet, and political protest.
Isobel Coleman hosts Joshua Kurlantzick, Fellow for Southeast Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, for a discussion about the political and economic transition of Thailand and Indonesia as part of a Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative series on Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Transitioning Countries.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »