Welcome to 2018 Summer Hybrid – LS 657: Challenges of Democracy
Welcome to Challenges of Democracy
Week 3: Democracy and The World – Changing Each Other
Welcome to Week 3. We slide this week a little because we start late, having met Tuesday night. We’ll get on an earlier, regular schedule next week.
We start, though, by asking, what is democracy? Larry Diamond leaves his ivory tower to try to build democracy in post-Saddam Iraq. Read his 2004 speech to university students in Iraq – just weeks after the capture of Saddam Hussein. The institutional parts are predictable enough to most Americans. But the most important part, and what must have been the most difficult for Iraqis to try to adopt – is section V: violence and denunciation are out, respect and dignity and listening and compromise are in. Read it also with how we treat each other in the United States today.
Next 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 -he called it the “third wave” of democratization. What was it, and why did it happen (and what happened to it?
At about the end of that wave (the mid 1990s), Adam Przeworski et al. ask, What are the best indicators that next year your country will be a democracy? In part, they test a still-famous 1959 article (just skim very quickly) 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 almost all political flavors 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 part of 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 about whether democratization is a good idea in the post-WWII context – and it offers important insights today.
(Democracies don’t go to war with each other? Two authors we don’t read this week offer even better than that. First, not just democracies don’t go to war with each other: countries with McDonalds don’t go to war with each other. That was true when first tested, but busted by the US bombing Belgrade in 1999. Second, democracies don’t have famines. Democracies don’t have famines! That’s pretty cool. )
After the Cold War (we can say the Cold War was from roughly 1947 to about 1989-91), “nation-building” was the idea in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Mozambique, and other places in the 1990s – the US or the UN would takeover or nearly takeover or merely support a government, trying to reshape it into a democracy. Doyle’s 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. After the massive failure of nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jason Brownlee asks whether nation-building is still possible or wise.
After decades of good news, we see a stall by the end of the 1990s, and some indicators of reversal by the 2000s. In articles listed below, the Carnegie Endowment compares current 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 –
WATCH – Two short clips from The West Wing’s 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.
Stimson, “The Challenge to Americans,” Foreign Affairs, Oct 1947 – notice, this is 1947 – just after WWII and at the beginning of the Cold War
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. This is what you really love? Then read about how the U.S. misapplied the lessons of Germany and Japan to 1990s Russia as well as to 2000s Iraq.
DISCOVER: MEASURING DEMOCRACY
What is a democracy? Is a country democratic? Please look at two important sources for measuring democracy: the comprehensive Center for Systemic Peace’s Polity IV series , and Freedom House’s annual report on Freedom in the World. Freedom House has great updated summaries of each country, like Pakistan which had elections this week.
OK, YOUR TURN
We’re pushing everything a day this week:
by Friday night – a news link – esp. a story or source we might not have seen – with your own comment – post on fb
by Saturday night – your “essay” post (probably almost 400 words) at the bottom of this page, based on the essay prompts (“questions”) below
by Sunday night – comment (approx 20-40 words) on at least two classmates’ news posts on fb,
by Monday night – comment (approx 100 words each) on at least two classmates’ essay posts at the bottom of this page
SPECIAL NOTE ON FB AND GOVT396.com:
I offer my undergrads the following advice about What Makes a Good Post – I know you don’t need it but it’s here for you anyway
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 fiercely partisan, but never 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 3 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? 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, the logic followed, 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 – that I haven’t asked here – or you relate something from this week to something from last week, or something else you know or have experienced, etc. If yes, then pose your question(s) and answers below…