European Disintegration? Warnings from History

The irony at the heart of Europe’s current crisis is that although the EU originated as part of a post-1945 effort to consolidate democracy in Western Europe, the Union’s travails are now pushing the continent in the opposite direction instead.


European Disintegration? The Sources of Extremism

The EU is experiencing a somewhat paradoxical phenomenon: On the one hand, it has been a tremendously successful club, promoting democracy and open societies within its borders and in its neighborhoods. On the other hand, the language of national rivalry and of class struggle is re-entering public discourse, especially within the eurozone. 


European Disintegration? A Fraying Union

Contrary to the expectations of some democratic theorists, the EU will not collapse because of the “democratic deficit” of European institutions. Nor will it be saved by the democratic mobilization of civil society. Paradoxically, it is widespread disillusionment with democracy—the shared belief that national governments are powerless in the face of global markets—that may be the best hope for reconciling the growing tension between the goal of further European integration and the goal of deepening democracy in Europe.

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European Disintegration? Twin Troubles

Confidence in all European institutions is at a record low. What explains this lack of trust, and how can it be restored? To begin with, the eurozone needs a workable long-term solution, and the EU as a whole must come to terms with the reality of a two-speed integration process.


European Disintegration? A Way Forward

The present crisis of the Euro is a near perfect example of how causal complexity, unanticipated consequences, and decisional uncertainty can have a significant and cumulative impact on regional integration. In theory, this should be the crisis that will drive the EU from economic to political integration. In practice, the outcome—at least, so far—has been the just opposite.


European Disintegration? Markets, Institutions, and Legitimacy

There is a lively public debate in Europe over how to deal with the current crisis. Among the obstacles to overcome, economic diversity, populism, and the distribution of costs figure prominently. Although most now agree on what needs to be done, whether it will be politically feasible remains uncertain. 


European Disintegration? Elusive Solidarity

Europe’s economic crisis has become a crisis of democratic governance that could roll back five decades of integration. The EU may disintegrate because its “commanders” are unable to converge three distinct economic, political and institutional theaters in which the crisis is being played out.


Media and Democracy: The Long View

Modern democracy was born in the era of print, and the press has been one of its essential institutions. With the decline of newspapers and the rise of new media, what are the implications for democracy?


Resilient Royals: How Arab Monarchies Hang On

The “Arab Spring” has been very hard on autocratic presidents but so far has left the Arab world’s monarchies intact. How and why have Arab royals been able to resist the tide of protest?


New Findings on Arabs and Democracy

The second wave of the Arab Barometer reveals strong and steady support for democracy in the Arab World but a deficit in democratic culture.


The Opening in Burma: The Democrats' Opportunity

The Burmese transition that began in 2011 will be a protracted process. The main challenge now is to build a state in which democracy can take root and grow.

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The Opening in Burma: The Generals Loosen Their Grip

Although active or retired military officers still hold top government posts, direct rule by the military as an institution is over, at least for now.


The Opening in Burma: A Union for All of Us

Elections alone will not answer the question of how to build a lasting democracy. Minority rights also must be protected.


The Opening in Burma: Strengthening Civil Society

For the country to develop, it needs an informed and engaged citizenry that has the knowledge and freedom to question those in power.

PDF icon The Opening in Burma: Strengthening Civil Society

The Opening in Burma: The Need for a Political Pact

The hardest work of the transition—negotiating political pacts—has not yet begun. Burma’s democrats must help to forge a system of mutual security that can allow democratization to proceed.


Politics in Crisis?

Although politics today is in critical condition—some even say it is dying—it is all the more important to revive it.


The Ethnocracy Trap

A political system in which power is formally divided among ethnic or sectarian groups may seem like a good idea in conflict-ridden societies, but it bears a high price and makes true democratic transition harder to achieve.


School for Dictators

A review of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy by William J. Dobson


Election Watch

Reports on recent elections in Angola, Egypt, Hong Kong, Libya, Mexico, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Senegal, and Timor-Leste.


Documents on Democracy

  • Excerpts from Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, which she gave on June 16 in Oslo, 21 years after she was awarded the prize.
  • An excerpt from imprisoned former Yukos oil company head Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s statement criticizing the Moscow trial of three members of the band Pussy Riot.
  • Portions of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s speech on June 29, a day before officially taking the oath of office.
  • Excerpt from a statement issued by a group of 17 Egyptian NGOs urging a greater focus on strengthening the rule of law and protecting human rights.