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.
Isobel Coleman hosts John Campbell, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, for a discussion about the political and economic transitions of South Africa and Nigeria as part of a Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative series on Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Transitioning Countries.
"Calls for more popular participation are not essential to populism; rather, they are a symptom of perceived exclusion (which might well be a reality, especially in Latin America). But cries for political inclusion are different from demands for direct democracy. Where direct democracy is very much a part of normal politics – in Switzerland, for example – populist parties have been doing better, not worse, than elsewhere."
Isobel Coleman, CFR's senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative, discusses transitions to democracy and market economies, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
Joshua Kurlantzick discusses democracy's decline and his new book, Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
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.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 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 »