2018 Summer Online – Politics 333: Democracy and…
WEEK OF JULY 5 – DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD
Welcome to Week 2. This week is compressed because of the holiday falling in the middle of the week. We’ll return to our regular schedule next week.
This week we focus on a number of ways in which democracy affects, and is affected by, the world around it. Samuel Huntington notices that, beginning with a military coup in Portugal in 1974, and then across various regions, democracy spreads at an unprecedented rate and breadth for the next 20 years. Why, and so what?
Huntington offers several answers to Why. Adam Przeworski et al. test a still-famous 1959 article (skim) that asks about the relationships between democracy and economic development.
Michael Doyle answers part of the So what? question by looking at Immanuel Kant’s ideas from nearly 200 years ago. Doyle offers that “democracies don’t go to war with each other.” After 1989, this is adopted by policymakers and scholars of many stripes as as close to an “Iron Law” as social science can generate. It has important implications: if democracies don’t go to war with each other, then the U.S. and others should “promote democratization.” This was the idea after WWII in Germany and Japan (based on the failed ideas to punish Germany after WWI). Former Secretary of War Henry Stimson places this debate in the postwar context.
After the Cold War, “nation-building” was the idea in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Mozambique, and other places in the 1990s. And democratic peace theory, and its successful legacy in Germany and Japan, became part of the rationale for U.S. policy in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam. Jason Brownlee asks whether nation-building is still possible.
After decades of good news, we see a stall by the end of the 1990s, and some indicators of reversal by the 2000s. The Carnegie Endowment compares challenges to democracy in the US and Europe. And the World Economic Forum (that annual festival of zillionaires in Davos each winter) asks whether Western democracy is in crisis.
We don’t try to cover the breaking news of every latest election or political ranting here – we try to understand the historical contexts of questions about global democracy, so that we can approach the news today or tomorrow or in five years with some perspective. If you are interested in current and recent events (maybe for your end-of-semester paper?), you might pursue questions of democratic reversals, or deconsolidation, in places like Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela; the curious Brexit; the decades-long undemocratic economic success of China; or the mixed records of states in Africa and the Middle East. Ok, let’s go
If you have not already, please join this course’s facebook group – see our Bb announcement for details, and post an introduction about yourself.
WATCH – Two short clips from democratic (and Democratic) Toby Ziegler:
On Belarus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLoio0Z6jLw (ignore the Australian constitutional studies analysis after 4:01)
Free trade stops wars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh9SgyGgBW0
And an Aaron Sorkin monologue asking how to measure a country’s greatness (with some “democracy and economics go together” thrown in)
Huntington, “Democracy’s Third Wave,” Journal of Democracy Spring 1991, http://www.ned.org/docs/Samuel-P-Huntington-Democracy-Third-Wave.pdf
Przeworski et al., “What Makes Democracies Endure?” Journal of Democracy, January 1996 – this is in our Reader chapter 7, or here in English (click scholar/researcher, decline free trial, and download pdf), Portuguese, and Persian
Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part I”, Philosophy and Public Affairs Summer 1983, and useful summary – only if you love it: optional full text (downloads a pdf). Read: Michael Doyle on his critics: page 180-183.
Brechenmacher, Carnegie Endowment, 2018: Comparing Democratic Distress in the United States and Europe – read the summary and introduction
World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2017: Western Democracy in Crisis? Read pages 23-27 (based on the page numbers in the document, bottom right; pdf pages 29-33)
Optional: on the idealism that democracies can be built on the ashes of defeated autocracies: lessons learned 1945-1952 don’t apply after 2001 and 2003? Skim: Brownlee, “Can America Nation-Build?” World Politics Jan. 2007
PowerPoint notes are on fb under “files” (or will be shortly)
DISCOVER: MEASURING DEMOCRACY
If you haven’t already, please look at two important sources for measuring democracy: the Center for Systemic Peace’s Polity IV series , and Freedom House’s annual report on Freedom in the World. Please get a solid, introductory understanding of these sources.
by Thursday night – if you have not already, please post an intro video or text about yourself, on our fb page
by Friday night – a news link – esp. a story or source we might not have seen – with your own comment – post on fb
by Sunday night – your “essay” post (probably 300-400 words) at the bottom of this page, based on the essay prompts (“questions”) below
by Monday night – comment (approx 20-40 words) on at least one classmate’s news post on fb, and comment (approx 100 words each) on at least two classmates’ essay posts at the bottom of this page
Please see the notes from last week about what constitutes a news post, essay post, news post reply, and essay post reply.
SPECIAL NOTE ON FB AND GOVT396.com:
From the syllabus: It seems like it should go without saying, but just in case: this is academic work, not the place for screeds, ad hominem attacks, or other unpleasantness. That’s not really suitable for your personal twitter account either, but it is certainly not appropriate here. This is “classroom facebook”, not “locker-room facebook”. Open, sincere, fact-based, and analytical, and even partisan, but not mean or rude. Thanks.
Thanks, everyone. Semester moves fast – keep up, get smart, have fun. Prompts for your posts this week are below:
Questions for Week 2 Essay Posts: Answer any one or more of these, probably 300-400 words total.
- What do you find persuasive about Samuel Huntington’s explanation for the “third wave” of democratization? How does it match (or not) Amartya Sen’s “universal” appeal of democracy from last week? Lots of analysis since the mid-1990s suggests a real democratic stall – even some backsliding – since the mid-1990s – why do you think that might be? (Some explanations here and here, e.g.)
- The early and mid-1990s presented a special challenge to countries in “transition” in the post-Soviet world: do you reform politics first, or economics, or try to do both simultaneously? What kinds of ties do democracy and economics have? Where do we see this today? Forget Trump: if the US economy went into another real downturn, worse than 2008, are there signs that the US population would permit – or even support – an intelligent, dynamic, charismatic person who placed economics ahead of democracy (as some said we did with security over democracy after 9-11)? Or should we be complacent in the fact that no middle-class democracy has ever reverted to authoritarianism?
- Democratic peace theory. Democracies don’t go to war with each other. C’mon – what’s better than that?! Democracies don’t go to war with each other. (Well, depending on what you call a democracy and what you call a war.) And so, we should support democratizations everywhere, to reduce the possible number of dyads that might make war. It’s like vaccinations – if you can get most countries, you can prevent a real problem. So, we should make Russia and East Germany and Serbia and Somalia and Egypt and Afghanistan and Iraq democratic! (But not China or Saudi Arabia?)
- How is the United States still Stimson’s America? How is it not? What might he say is the challenge to Americans today?
- Maybe something else from these readings moved you – or you relate something from this week to something from last week, or something else. If yes, then pose your question(s) and pursue for us…