As the Journal of Democracy celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, there are serious reasons to worry about the state of democracy.
Volume 26, Issue 1
The failure to establish modern, well-governed states has been the Achilles heel of recent democratic transitions, as democratization without state modernization can actually lower the quality of governance.
Can democracy prosper when democratic countries are in geopolitical retreat? History cautions against the notion that democracy will inevitably prevail.
Rather than being in decline, democracy is in crisis due to the gap between the democratic ideal and how democracy is actually being practiced. It will survive by transitioning into a new, as yet unknown, form.
In contrast to the conventional wisdom that democracy is in retreat worldwide, the evidence tells a different story: The state of global democracy has been stable over the last decade and is actually better than it was in the 1990s.
From small beginnings, democracy aid has become a sizeable enterprise. Today it is beset by problems, however, as it must operate in a less friendly environment. Hard decisions will need to be made to maintain its relevance.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, democracy in the Arab world seems farther away today than at any point in the last 25 years. If it is to ever arrive, it will likely be through a more evolutionary and elite-driven process.
Institutional choices matter in the postcommunist world, but geopolitical and civilizational boundaries still set the horizons of political possibility.
Since the mid-2000s, democratization in Africa has faltered, in large part due to its elites’ waning commitment to democracy.
A survey of the region yields a patchwork result, with democratic governance faring well in some countries, at a standstill in others, and in the most worrisome cases actively eroding.
Does the electoral victory of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party signal that the world’s largest democracy may be following Sri Lanka toward a politics where the will of the majority is exalted above minority rights?
Democracy has been in a global recession for most of the last decade, and committed and resourceful engagement by the established democracies is necessary to reverse this trend.
As China’s power grows, will it seek to remake the world in its authoritarian image? For now, China shows no such missionary impulse, but the ways in which it pursues its interests can still threaten the fate of democracy.
The system of personalized power that has long ruled Russia now faces a new crisis, and it is trying to avert decay through the reassertion of empire.
A review of An Uncanny Era: Conversations Between Václav Havel and Adam Michnik, translated and edited by Elzbieta Matynia.
Reports on elections in Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Liberia, Mauritius, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Romania, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Uruguay.
Excerpts from: an open letter by the Hong Kong Federation of Students to Chinese premier Li Keqiang; the campaign manifesto of former finance minister Ashraf Ghani, who was proclaimed Afghanistan’s president; the third annual Carlos Cardoso Memorial Lecture; an open letter calling for the release of human-rights activist Liu Xiaobo.