By Joshua Kurlantzick
Read or Download Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government PDF
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Extra resources for Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government
To do so, we must first look back at the previous three waves of democratic change in the twentieth century, as well as at the post– Cold War era of optimism and Western triumphalism in the 1990s and early 2000s, the time of the fourth wave of democratization in the developing world. By examining mistakes made during the high point of the global democratic revolution, we may understand how democracy has declined so rapidly and dramatically in a number of developing nations across several continents.
Perhaps Al Nahda’s success would be fleeting. A study released in early 2011 in the Journal of Democracy found that, by surveying parliamentary elections in twenty-one countries, Islamic parties tended to do best in the initial elections after the end of authoritarian rule, a period when they tended to be the most organized group in the country. 36 Islamist parties also tended to become more moderate over time, as they tried to appeal to less religious swing voters, in order to possibly gain enough votes to govern.
Yet Western leaders do not seem to recognize how seriously democracy is threatened in many parts of the developing world. Though some observers, like Freedom House, have begun to recognize how democracy has become endangered, few have systematically traced how a form of government once thought to be invincible has been found lacking in so many places and consequently tossed aside, often by the very middle-class reformers who once were democracy’s vanguard. Among senior American officials, few are willing to accept that the current climate is anything more than a blip in democracy’s ultimate conquest of the globe, that the Arab Spring and Summer might not turn out to be like 1989’s year of democratic revolution— or that a prolonged democratic rollback would have severe consequences for global security, trade, and American strategic interests, not to mention the well-being of millions of men and women across the developing world.