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International Politics of Democracy Promotion PO229


International Politics of Democracy Promotion PO229 Session 1: Framing the Module and Basic Vocabulary * In sum Autocracy diffusion is a nebulous concept. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: International Politics of Democracy Promotion PO229

International Politics of Democracy Promotion
  • Session 1 Framing the Module and Basic

Framing the module
  • United Nations Sec. Generals statement
  • The when of democracy promotion.
  • The who of democracy promotion.
  • The where of democracy promotion.
  • A roller coaster ride.
  • Questions the module addresses.
  • Dispelling three myths.
  • Do you have any questions?

  • Democratisation
  • Means movement towards/in the direction of
    democracy. In practice that usually means western
    style liberal democracy. But we can challenge
    that reduction if we think other forms of
    democracy may be more appropriate

  • Includes both transitional phase in the
    installation of democracy, and subsequent
    progress, for example from new, fragile,
    unstable, defective or imperfect democracy,
    towards more established, stable, and more
    democratic democracy. Open question of how to
    assess democraticness or a democracys quality.

  • No end point no country has reached the ideal
    typical position the ideal itself may be
    dynamic, as for example new technology makes new
    forms of mass political participation possible.

  • Democratisation is analytically distinct from the
    political liberalisation of authoritarian
    regimes, which may not produce democracy

  • Democratisation is analytically distinct from
    authoritarian break down, which may not lead to
    democracy. Locating the borderline (the tipping
    point) between authoritarian break-down and
    democratic transition is somewhat arbitrary the
    one merges into the other. Of course we can only
    know if the one merged into the other with
    benefit of hindsight, i.e. after the event.

Democratisation Backwards
  • Increase in attention paid to examples of
    democratic decay and authoritarian persistence
    and revival, and, even, the diffusion of
    authoritarian and semi-authoritarian or illiberal
    rule. New theoretical perspectives required.

Democracy Assistance
  • Concessionary (i.e. grant-aided) and largely
    consensual projects and programmes. But can
    become politically contentious borderline with
    non-consensual forms of democracy promotion
    difficult to locate.

Democracy Promotion
  • All the different methods and approaches to
    promoting democracy that range from assistance
    and soft power (e.g. influence) through
    pressure to hard power (i.e. coercion,
    including for example military intervention)

Democracy Support Supporting Democracy-Building
  • Can cover assistance and also knowledge-sharing
    about democracy/democratisation and diplomatic
    engagement, but not coercion. Sometimes preferred
    by non-governmental practitioners.
  • Shared democracy-building (IDEAs preference)
    echoes the evolution from foreign (economic) aid,
    thru development assistance, to internat.
    development cooperation, and now partnership for

Regime Change
  • The attempt to bring down a government (as
    distinct from changing the type of political
    regime or political rule or political system) by
    the use of military force. Born of the invasion
    of Afghanistan and Iraq by US and coalition
  • Clausewitz famously said war is a continuation
    of politics by other means. Regime change
    might be thought of as an endeavour that
    sometimes masquerades as democracy promotion but
    employs other means than assistance, most
    notably physical violence, and in the first
    instance is driven by other purposes and goals.
    It might or it might not lead to democracy.

International Dimensions of Democratisation
  • Dwells on context or environment or causes
    rather than consequences of democratisation.
    Comprises both active and passive international
    democracy promotion
  • Active form comprises intentionality, i.e.
    deliberate assistance and/or promotion, by
    whatever means.
  • Passive sense refers to democracy being spread or
    diffused (or the opposite) by international
    influences (positive or negative) other than
    intentional democracy promotion and democracy
    assistance. Example effects of living in a good,
    or conversely bad, neighbourhood effects of
    global economic trends.

Towards a Borderless World?
  • International itself a contested dimension
  • Impact of globalisation on the national/internatio
    nal or foreign/domestic distinctions the
    transnational dimension (e.g. global civil
    society) and the mutually constitutive nature of
    the internal and the external, whereby each
    stimulates or provokes and shapes the other and
    influences its effects. Assigning causality in
    democracy promotion even more difficult than
    identifying democratisations causes.

  • Session 2 Evolution in the State of
    Democratisation as Reality and as Subject of
  • Aim of Lecture to introduce the apparent paradox
    that democratisation and its international
    promotion warrant close inspection even though,
    possibly, the best is already behind us.
  • The rise of democracy is ' the most important
    thing to have happened in the twentieth century'
    (Amartya Sen, 1999).
  • Since then the optimism has dimmed, the romance
    has faded away. Unclear whether the Arab
    awakening is coming to the rescue.

Main points
  • 1.The study of democratisation has been driven by
    events that were not foreseen in advance.
  • 'the likelihood of democratic development in
    Eastern Europe is virtually nil' (Samuel P.
    Huntington, 1984). Five years later.
  • 2.Although American political science tended to
    dominate the study of democratisation, especially
    early on, the best way to understand
    democratisation is to approach it in the spirit
    of politics as an open discipline.
  • 'the suggestion that the student of politics is
    an eclectic is very well observed, for he draws
    on so many ways of analysis as seem to suit his
    purpose' (W. H. Greenleaf, 1968).
  • A multidisciplinary approach is especially well
    suited to increase our knowledge understanding
    of democratisation, if we conceive it to be a
    multi-faceted multidimensional process, i.e.
    about something more than just refashioning the
    institutions of government.

Main points
  • 3.The fact that democratisation has had an impact
    both on politics and on the study of politics
    around the world means it should be of special
    interest to political studies and to students of
    international politics.
  • 'where democracy is strong, political science is
    strong where democracy is weak, political
    science is weak' (Huntington, 1988).

Main points
  • 4. Establishing the trend the flow and the ebb
    tide of democratisation under the impact of
  • revisions to our understanding of democracy,
    raising the bar
  • prevalence of state fragility, collapse even, or
    at minimum weak government
  • authoritarian persistence now resurgence

Three provocative thoughts to conclude with
  • 1)It is not true that trends towards greater
    freedom and democracy in the 1990s have since
    been stalled, reversed or hollowed out. On the
    contrary, what we see is a moving of the
    goalposts the actualité is being subjected to
    ever more rigorous appraisal. It is as if we were
    previously blinded by the impression of a glass
    half full. In contrast, we now focus our analysis
    more on the half empty portion of a glass that is
    being redefined in ever more expansive terms
    (Anon). Discuss.

Three provocations
  • 2). There are so many places now where
    democratisation is, or should be, placed on hold,
    or even dumped. The priorities must be building
    state and/or building nation, that is to say
    creating political and social order and the
    capacity for (better) governance. Our analytical
    frameworks explanatory theories should take
    account of the implications of this both for
    politics and for the study of politics. And there
    are implications for international democracy
    promotion too. (Anon). Discuss.

Three provocations
  • 3).Authoritarian and semi-authoritarian rule are
    back. Political science in general, and theories
    of democratisation in particular, need to adjust
    their sights and explain how this could have
    happened. And reflect and what it means for the
    future of world politics. (Anon) Discuss.

Summary conclusion
  • On the ground democratisation has evolved over
    recent decades and now faces an uncertain future.
    Does the Arab spring really make a difference?
  • In the discourse our knowledge understanding
    of democratisation have made progress, but
    continue to reveal weaknesses, including a
    repeated failure to make sound prediction.
  • For practitioners the policy implications of the
    above for how to (whether to?) promote or support
    democracy abroad are under major review.

  • Session 3 Distinguishing processes of political
  • Aim of Lecture to alert us to the conceptual
    debate and its significance through an analytical
    review of key concepts in democratisation
    political liberalisation democratic transition
    democratic consolidation democratic reversal.

Political change transforming the regime rather
than changing the state
  • 1.Political transition or opening not same as
    democratic transition/opening
  • 2.The dichotomy of 'authoritarian' versus
    democratic regime is oversimplified because it
    conceals the variety of non-democratic regime
    types and their different claims to political
    legitimacy, as well as different governance
    properties. Examples.
  • 3.Non-democratic not same as pre-democratic.
    Possible significance path-dependence.

False dichotomy
  • 3.The dichotomy of authoritarian versus
    democratic regime is oversimplified because there
    can be a variety of outcomes of political
    transition from the former, apart from the
    possibility of reversion back to the same kind of
  • a) transition to a different type of
    non-democratic regime
  • b) break-down of political order regime
    collapse degrades the state (Saddam Hussein).
  • c) intermediate categories of regime from
    authoritarian to democratic (with adjectives
    such as semi, limited, partial, etc hybrids).
    Stable or unstable?
  • d) democracy a relativistic concept, e.g.
    electoral liberal participatory deliberative.
    The differences may be as profound as the
    difference from some non-democracies.
  • e) certain shared underlying features of
    non-democratic and democratic regimes may colour
    how examples of both types operate in some
    similar ways, e.g. informal institutions.
  • f) The rule of law matters but is not exclusive
    to democracy and may be more a requisite than an
    inevitable part of democracy. The sequencing
    debate links state and regime.

Transition v consolidation
  • 4.Distinguishing political liberalisation from
    democratic transition (and from economic
  • 5.Defining democratic consolidation.
  • 6.Is the idea of post-consolidation meaningful?
    Irreversibility? Beyond the political arena?
    Scaling up?
  • 7.Democratisation as variable geometry different
    flight trajectories offer an alternative view
    to linear progress marked by agreed stages and
    tipping points.
  • 8. Mirror image of forward and backwards movement
    and their explanations (causes)?

Different processes/different causes
  • Distinguishing and disaggregating the process is
    important to identifying causes.
  • Significant for the international promotion of
    democracy, as well as for pro-democracy actors
    and opponents of reform inside countries
  • Yet whereas an extensive literature has emerged
    concerning the causes and consequences of
    democratisation, emerging types of democracy and
    issues of democratic consolidation, remarkably
    little research has been undertaken on the
    emergence or persistence of authoritarian
    regimes (Levitsky and Way, Journal of Democracy,
    13/2, 2002). This is beginning to change, but
    there is still some to go, especially regarding
    international influences.

  • Session 4 Democracys critiques and alternatives
  • Aim of Lecture to identify normative critiques
    of the very idea of democracy and by
    implication of the idea of international
    democracy promotion.
  • This is more fundamental than criticising merely
    some particular theoretical version or
    interpretation of democracy. More fundamental
    than criticising just certain particular
    institutional models associated with democracy
    (e.g. presidential, or alternatively
    parliamentary). And it is more fundamental than
    criticising the democratic performance of
    countries that call themselves democracies (i.e.
    do not judge the idea of democracy by the
    so-called democracies, which might be falling

Critiquing the idea is also
  • Not the same as critiquing the motives that are
    attributed to international democracy promotion
    generally and the Wests lead in promoting
    democracy specifically (e.g. US imperialism). And
    not the same as criticising the slow pace of
    democratisation in some new democracies, or the
    unrealistic expectations that people there and/or
    in the West have about the pace of change in
    these countries.

Also, critiquing the idea can
  • Go beyond the claim that democracy does not solve
    all problems and procure every good thing that we
    want (i.e. rejecting democracy is more
    fundamental than moderating our expectations
    about what it can achieve or deliver). And it
    goes beyond the claim that democracy promotion is
    not a science but a very imperfect art (i.e. the
    need to moderate expectations about that too).
  • So far all these are different arguments or
  • The following reject democracy as a political
    solution either for some or for all societies, or
    for some situations, or for some periods or
    phases in a societys development (note that
    these are all different claims too).

Alternative values in the world and over time
  • 1.Democracys values are not universal values
    (contrary to what Sen claimed in 1999). Asian
    values, authoritarian capitalism, and some
    versions of political Islam may all offer
  • In the past, patriarchal rule/the king equates to
    father of a family/power to rule is inherited
    (e.g. Filmer,The Natural Power of Kings,1680,
    critiqued in Lockes First Treatise). Divine
    right of kings.
  • In more recent times, theocratic
    rule/theocracy/Church overrides or supplies the
    state (Iran Vatican City State), still claiming
    legitimacy based on divine source of authority.
    God is the ultimate sovereign, and not the
  • Democracy respects the peoples choice, so if the
    people prefer an alternative to democracy, then
    the alternative is what they should have.

Who and what are the people?
  • 2. Power should be the preserve of true members
    of the national community. This may not mean
    everyone (i.e. non-inclusionary enfranchisement
    based on ethno-nationalist and racial or racist
    theories about blood line or colour, or gender
    and age discrimination (e.g. apartheid South
  • 3.The people are many, but only the few are wise.
    Democracy empowers the ignorance, stupidity, and
    irrational passions of the masses. Philosopher
    kings (Plato The Republic) or the modern day
    equivalent - technocrats should rule.
  • Contemporary examples include Smith and Shearman
    on responses to global warming, and recent
    debates in some European countries over handing
    power to experts to determine policy responses to
    sovereign debt crises.

Security an overriding value
  • 4. Democracy may be a nice idea, but personal
    safety, or security meaning both at home/internal
    (law and order) and external/from foreign
    aggression must come first (Thomas Hobbes
    argument for absolute, unlimited and indivisible
    power off the sovereign, in Leviathan). By
    dividing or distributing power widely in society
    and placing limits on what even a government with
    clear majority support is allowed to do, the
    ability of government to guarantee security the
    individuals basic right to life would be
    compromised, and could be fatally undermined
    especially in an age of terror(ism).

Democracy requires unrealistic commitment
  • 5.Attaining and maintaining democracy require
    qualities of self-confidence, energy and
    vigilance that human nature might not possess,
    even if people are clever.
  • Soft version sustainable democracy requires
    sustained commitent by the people (J.S.Mill, A
    few words on non-intervention, 1859 ) at best
    might succumb to the appeal of populist leaders,
    who are insincere democrats.
  • Hard (scary) version fear of freedom/ freedom
    an unbearable burden (Eric Fromm, 1941),
    provides the conditions for messianic rule that
    promises a holy grail. Rise of totalitarian
    dictatorship, e.g. fascism in the 1930s.

Too expensive
  • 6.Democracy costs too much, for poor countries
    anyway just think of the opportunity cost in
    terms of the basic (material) needs foregone.
    Similar arguments used recently against changing
    the voting system and electing the second chamber
    in the UK.

Historical obsolescence
  • 7. In todays increasingly globalised world the
    sites of power and leading institutions of
    governance are moving offshore, and now straddle
    territorial boundaries between countries. But
    democracy was designed for - and remains trapped
    inside - the obsolete shell of the national
    state. So it can no longer deliver what it claims
    rule by (and for) the people (discussed further
    in summer term see module programme, week 21).

Radical views from the left
  • 8. Marxist view of bourgeois democracy an
    historically transient part of the
    superstructure. Of no great value in itself (it
    is the economic base and social relations make
    history). And it is pernicious in as much as it
    is fashioned to serve/prolong class
  • And it is destined to be superseded by communism
    (alternatively, C. B. Macpherson on democratic
    socialism of Soviet-style rule).
  • 9. Anarchist rejection of the state (Tolstoy
    Proudhon etc). Democracy presupposes a state,
    and the state is the enemy of freedom. The end of
    politics means no place for democracy as we know

Fatal links, or just remediable flaws?
  • 10.(Electoral) democracy means tyranny by the
    majority. Is liberal democracy the solution, if
    it protects the rights of individuals and
    minorities (e.g. Bills of Rights)?
  • 11.Democracy threatens property rights
    (Federalist Paper No. 10, debated in US in 1787).
    Seems overstated. But highlights importance of
    rule of law to encouraging wealth-creation).
  • 12.Democracy perpetuates male domination
    (feminist critiques). Yes, but remediable
    (only?) by social/economic change.
  • 13.Representative democracy means enslavement
    between elections(Rousseau in The Social
    Contract, Book 3, chapter 15, 1762). E-democracy
    now offers a solution?
  • 14. Contradicts traditional communal rule (e.g.,
    African style, such as Botswanas kgotla). Town
    hall democracy and deliberative democracy as

And democracy promotion?
  • Irrespective of whether the idea of democracy is
    good or bad, and regardless of what methods are
    used to promote democracy, the international
    promotion of democracy may be a bad idea because
  • 1.All national communities have a right to
    determine their own future free of external
    influence. Sovereignty limits democracy support
    to a request basis only. A matter of principle.

And democracy promotion?
  • 2.It is only the people of a society who can
    really know what that society wants, what it
    needs, what will work best, when and how to get
    it. External influence at best gets in the way,
    even when it is welcomed and is well-intentioned.
    A matter of prudence more than principle.
  • 2a.Variant on above international democracy
    promotion is bound to be ethno-centric, i.e.
    promote models that reflect their country of
    origin, which may be unsuited ( the time of
    the French Revolution in 1790s Burke saw
    republicanism as anathema to English traditions
    of liberty that cherish the wisdom of the ages,
    so even if it was right for France which Burke
    denied this would mean it could not be right
    for England).

And democracy promotion?
  • 3.Governments, especially democratically elected
    ones, are obliged to place their own countries
    interests first. So beware of foreigners
    (democracy promoters) bearing gifts
    (Rousseaus Legislator argument inverted).
    Policy motives elaborated later in module).
  • 4.If societies in the established democracies do
    not wish to support international democracy
    promotion then their elected governments should
    not use taxpayers money in that way (similar to
    arguments about spending on international
    development aid).

Homo sapiens destiny is to challenge, and the
role of the academy to preserve the critical
  • 5.We should keep alive the idea that faith in
    democracy could be misplaced, which means that
    the idea of democracy promotion should be
    challenged too.
  • Uncritical support for democracy and/or for
    democracy promotion leads to complacency and
    susceptibility to error. If they are not
    challenged, then even the meaning as well as the
    vitality of attachment and jealous protection of
    democracy will be more easily lost in the
    established democracies (Socratic method J.S.
    Mill in On Liberty, 1859).

Forthcoming attractions
  • In the weeks ahead
  • Critiques of particular motives or policy drivers
    attributed to the democracy promoters (e.g. week
  • Criticisms of specific strategies, approaches,
    techniques or methods used to promote democracy,
    claiming they are ineffective or may even be
    counter-productive (see weeks 11 onwards).

  • Session 5 Explaining the growth of democracy
  • Aim of lecture to explain how the 'international
    community' came to be more enthusiastic about
    promoting democracy by the late 1980s and took
    off in the 1990s but did not happen earlier.

Historical Origins
  • 1. Post-1945 international order states are
    sovereign non-intervention national
    self-determination (decolonisation) UN Security
    Council hamstrung by first world v second
    world rivalry.
  • 2.Foreign aid in the cold war era providers
    (US, USSR, China, OPEC, Japan, UK, France,
    Germany WBankl policy rationales not democracy
  • 3.The turning point impact of events in the
    Soviet Union after Gorbachev became leader (1985)
    and end of Brezhnev doctrine. Affects
    North-South relations as well as East-West
    relations window of opportunity for West to
    apply pressure for political change in developing
    countries without consequences for East-West
    balance of power
  • 4. Third world countries became more vulnerable
    as lose second world financial, economic and
    political support also, fear aid diversion of
    Western aid to transition countries in former
    second world collapsing appeal of alternative
    ideology(communism) .
  • 5. Do not underestimate domestic pressures for
    political change inside the developing world,
    provides a demand-pull complement to the supply
    side push in political development support. Gives
    legitimacy. But were domestic demands for change
    primarily aimed at political reform or at
    economic improvement?

From Foreign (Economic) Aid to Political
Development Support
  • 4.Supply side aid institutions opportunistic
    response to growing 'aid fatigue' at home.
  • Origins of 'aid fatigue' in the US
    (disappearance of cold war rationale) and
    everywhere a growing frustration at aid's weak
    developmental performance notwithstanding
    introduction of economic conditionality, and
    sensitivity to domestic public concern about
    aiding corrupt and/or incompetent governments,
    while having to impose fiscal austerity at home.
  • 5. Early precursors of democracy promotion
    President Carters human rights policy in late
    1970s did not last.
  • 6.Political (development aid) rejuvenates aids
    moral purpose a good sell at home and costs
    less than economic development aid!

New Thinking about International Relations
  • 5.Evolving thinking about an international regime
    of rights - rights belong to people, not
    governments - and about international obligations
    the former state-based notions of national
    sovereignty are put on the defensive against the
    role of the international community in
    protecting and/or furthering the rights of
    peoples (even against their own government
    ignores or represses the peoples rights).
    Democracy an entitlement?
  • Modelling a new norm of international democracy
    protection and/or promotion on the evolving
    doctrine of humanitarian intervention (which may
    even justify use of force and ignoring the
    objections of the government).
  • Is it a right or an obligation of the
    international community to do this? And who/what
    is the international community same as the UN
    other organisations?

  • Conclusion the collapse of the USSR and
    relaxation of former constraints on international
    diplomacy, the need for a new rationale for aid
    given the background of development failures, and
    the 'pull factor' from peoples seeking political
    change from their governments all combined to
    create a favourable environment for international
    promotion of democracy to take off in the 1990s.
  • Advances in humanitarian intervention begin to
    look conducive to the evolution ultimately - of
    a new doctrine of democracy intervention.
  • In reality this never got off the drawing board
    and eventually became dead in the water after
    the US response to 9/11. The idea that the
    international community has a responsibility
    2protect is what remains, but restricted to
    circumstances of specific human rights abuses
    (genocide war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes
    against humanity), does not have status of
    international law, and its application is
    frustrated by the power politics that divide
    influential states.

  • Session 6 the developmental case for democracy
  • Aim of Lecture to examine the intellectual
    rationales/case for promoting democracy, focusing
    today on the developmental case.
  • Note this is not the same question as the
    historical origins how DP came about (see
    previous lecture),
  • And note the same question as why certain actors
    embraced DP and try to do it - the actual policy
    motives (see later lecture).

The Way We Used to Think
  • The 'cruel choice' theory (1960s) pursue either
    development, or democracy, but not both.
    Investment requires abstinence from consumption,
    which is politically unpopular.
  • The performance of East Asias dragons/tigers
    provides evidence that non-democracies can and do
    deliver development.
  • Modernisation school of development proposes that
    political development will follow economic
    change the wealth theory of democracy (Lipset)
    then kicks in. So everything can work out fine in
    the long run.
  • Bias towards strong executive government as a
    means to implement the 'Washington consensus'
    that requires structural (economic ) adjustment,
    embodied in conditional programme lending
    (1980s). No pain, no gain a hard sell,
    politically. So democracy/democratisation
    unwelcome distractions, or worse, present
    political obstructions to rational (economic)

The Thinking Changes
  • By 1990 the dominant thinking undergoing change
    in three respects
  • 1.Our understanding of the relationship between
    economics and politics rejection of economic
    determinism political institutions make a
  • 2. Our understanding of the specific connection
    between economic development and political
    development political change might be necessary
    for economic progress, not an obstacle.
  • 3. Our understanding of the comparative merits of
    authoritarianism and democracy as political
    agents of economic liberalisation the legitimacy
    gained from being democratically elected can help
    governments take the tough decisions that weak
    autocracies see as too risky to their political

Explaining the changed thinking
  • Realisation that development needs investment in
    human capital social capital, as well as
    physical capital. They are not luxuries that
    must be denied to people in poor societies. So
    development strategy may not require or benefit
    from (politically unpopular) austerity.
  • Conditional lending seen to be a failure because
    of lack of government ownership and
    non-enforceability, which pose political
    challenges (NB. an alternative explanation would
    be that the Washington consensus advice is
    inappropriate and the root cause of a countrys
    economic problems lies in the international
    economic and financial system, but this
    explanation is not acceptable to donors/the
  • Lessons of experience that non-democratic
    governments that are not accountable to society
    often do not feel obliged to prioritise the
    well-being of the people, either in the short or
    the long term. Africa land of dictators was
    not developing.

If politics is the (source of) the problem of
weak development, then the solution must be
political too
  • Different political solutions democracy/responsiv
    e government (bilateral donors) good
    governance/competent and honest government (World
  • Reasons why democracy might be good for
    development accountable to the people, who
    demand material improvement policy feedback
    improves policy command and control might suit
    first generation economic conditionalities (e.g.
    devaluation), but second generation economic
    conditionalities benefit from a more consensual
    politics (e.g. wage de-indexation).
  • Removal of doubts that democracy could harm
    development evidence that democracy does not
    destroy property/incentive to create wealth
    political parties gain politically from a
    reputation for economic competence.
  • Reasons why democratically elected governments
    will/can pursue economic liberalisation rely on
    the experts for policy advice, while political
    legitimacy buys (grudging) acceptance from the
    people international financial support sugar
    coats the pill, if properly distributed (and not
    trapped by government elite) .

Democracy/democratisation even good for fighting
world poverty
  • Reducing poverty becomes main goal of foreign
    development aid, after end of cold war.
  • Poor people are the most vulnerable to bad
    governance (corruption). Democratic
    accountability should force governments to
    improve governance.
  • Democracy/democratisation will make
    poverty-reduction a higher political priority,
    because poor people who may be in the majority
    - will use their vote to demand attention.
  • (Liberal) democracy more permissive of
    non-governmental organisations and civil society
    groups, who will put the needs of the poor on the
    political agenda even if political parties do
  • Evidence no famines in democracies with free
    media (Sen).

  • Growing belief that democracy (and hence
    democratisation) can be good for development -
    development that reduces world poverty.
  • Political reform of some sort especially in
    governance - may even be a necessary
    (pre)condition for development, in many places
    and in time democracy should bring better
  • Therefore supporting the spread of democracy
    (democracy promotion) and helping to improve
    governance (governance aid) should be good for
    development. And the world development aid
    industry also should help support
  • Criticism in reality, democratisation can be bad
    for development, if it proves very destabilising
    democratisation in practice not always empower
    the poor, and conflicts exist between economic
    liberalisation and poverty reduction development
    aid industry remains more sceptical of democracy
    than good governance.

  • Session 7 Arguments suggesting that democracy
    can be promoted
  • Aim of the lecture to examine intellectual
    justifications for promoting democracy by
    focusing on the influences on democratisation
    that may be open to manipulation or control

Development not a necessary condition or a
sufficient condition for democratization
  • Rise of the belief that democracy and
    democratisation are possible even where the
    economic/socio-economic circumstances are not
    especially favourable. India and other examples
    of sustained democracy 'against the
    odds/deviant democracies. Hence the
    possibility that international democracy support
    could 'make a difference' even in these
    situations, and not only where economic/socio-econ
    omic (pre)conditions/(pre)requisites' are
    already in place.
  • Anyway, economic development not a sufficient
    condition for liberal democracy. So there must be
    other factors that need to be addressed, where
    maybe international support could help too.

Additional Independent Variables
  • We become aware of some other significant factors
    that can affect the chances of success or failure
    of democratisation, and the possibility that
    these influences might be amenable to external
    influence of some sort, e.g. technical advice,
    training, material or financial assistance,
    diplomatic persuasion, pressure, etc.
  • At least three candidates political
    institutions civil society political culture.

Political Institutions
  • The 'new institutionalism' generally (1980s on)
    political decisions (and non-decisions) on choice
    of political institutions matter, can make a
    difference to political outcomes. Choices are
    possible, within reason (constrained by previous
    choices and by more objective factors). Agency
    and structure interact.
  • Institutional design and engineering (division of
    powers checks and balances centralisation v
    devolution electoral system etc). Path
    dependence/stickiness suggests getting the
    choices right is important (birth defect theory).
    But constitutional processes may allow for

  • Do international actors have the right
    knowledge/expertise to advise on appropriate
    institutional engineering? Rousseaus legislator
  • How can they influence choices when these must be
    acceptable to society and the dominant political
    actors? Possibilities in occupied countries
    broken societies where there is respect for
    tried and tested experience of foreign models
    (maybe lawyers and politicians educated abroad)
    conditionality for accession to regional
    organisation, e.g.EU.

Formal and informal institutions
  • Informal institutions harder to change, and less
    amenable to external influence, than are formal
    institutions. Examples patron-clientelism
  • Reform of the formal institutions might change
    the informal institutions in long run, by
    altering the incentive structures to behave in
    particular ways. For example a majoritarian
    electoral system design might encourage different
    ethnic groups to cooperate in a broad-based
    political party, where a PR system might entrench
    ethnic political representation.
  • But in the short-medium term, informal
    institutions can undermine or hollow out formal
    institutional reforms e.g. persistence of
    clientelism in new democracies prevents
    democratically elected governments aiming for the
    general public good. And can cause backtrack on
    the institutional reforms (i.e. no path
    dependence), e.g. Putin undoes Medvedevs modest

Political Culture
  • Culture comprises attitudes, beliefs, values,
    feelings/sentiments. Political culture a sub-set
    orientations towards politics. Almond and Verba
    (1960s) on the civic culture. Third wave
    resurrects interest in the significance of
    political culture to the political system/regime.
  • But what makes up a specifically 'civic
    culture'? And its relationship to religious
    creed, level of education and prosperity,
    historical experience?
  • Can we measure it? How? Growth in attitude
    surveys (barometers) organised/funded from
    established democracies. Could be used to inform
    decisions on democracy support programmes/projects
    For example if people fear the authorities, then
    help improve the rule of law (e.g. strengthen
    mechanisms of accountability, like judicial

Condition or Consequence?
  • Is civic culture a prerequisite for successful
    democratization? Whose culture matters most -
    elite (leaders) or mass and when? Mass civic
    culture not necessary for transition, but
    essential to consolidation?
  • Can mass civic culture be a product of democratic
    transformation, e.g. brought about by the new
    institutions of democracy ? International help,
    directly (e.g. support civic education)
    indirectly (through advice on/support for
    institutional reform, e.g. human rights

Civil society
  • Civil society not a new idea. Exists between
    state and household, based on voluntary
    principle, seeking some public purpose. But
    discourse mainly in political and social theory
    (Smith, Hegel, Gramsci).
  • Reawakening to its importance against a
    background of growth in organised demands for
    political reform from outside the ruling party,
    in Latin America and Central Eastern Europe,
    e.g. Solidarity in Poland. Another example of how
    real events force us to think afresh.
  • But civil society is a contested concept there
    are disagreements over its function in politics
    and disagreements especially over whether its
    role pre and post democratic transition should

Contested Ideas about Civil Society
  • Composition all inclusive, or alternatively
    excludes civic groups hostile to liberal
    democratic values (i.e. a civic culture), in
    other words is there uncivil society too?
  • Function to challenge the state?, to
    countervail/check the state? to help the state
    be more effective? a school/training ground for
    democracys leaders?
  • Modern and traditional variants (ethnic, tribal,
    extended familial groups). Democracy support
    often accused of favouring the first.
  • Pro-market (e.g. include business groups) v
    suspicious of market/economic liberalisation
    (organised labour anti-globalisation
    protesters). An ideological division over this.
  • Boundaries with social movements (different aim
    or purpose? Different social base? Different
    methods? More transient?).

International Support for Civil Society
  • Notwithstanding the academic arguments over civil
    society, international democracy support for it
    in both new and prospective new democracies
    became a major growth industry in 1990s civil
    society capacity-building one of the highest
    categories of spending.
  • Reasons it offers an access point external
    support may essential may be the main actor
    demanding/driving reform cheap and relatively
    easy to do politically safer than backing
    political parties (if there are pro-reform
    parties) responding to demand from civil
  • However the lessons of experience from two
    decades of support now tell us it can be
    problematic for both sides (as week 16 in the
    spring term will explore in detail).

  • Irrespective of how developed/non developed, or
    wealthy/poor the country is, democratisation
    might still be possible
  • And international actors might be able to make a
    constructive contribution to this, by seeking to
    influence the institutions, the political
    culture, the civil society.
  • Economic progress later would then help to
    consolidate the democratic gains. Indeed,
    democratic transition might unlock the potential
    for economic progress, which then helps
    consolidate democracy, in a virtuous circle.

  • Institutional design is an imperfect art and
    models do not always travel well iron law of
    unintended consequences. Informal institutions
    and political culture may be resistant to change.
    A seeming flourishing of civil society is not
    irreversible recedes, or becomes diverted into
    pursuing narrow group interests after the
    democratic revolution .
  • In the meantime, protracted economic weakness and
    failure to improve social welfare/well-being can
    undermine popular support for a new democracy and
    lead to a stalled transition or even democratic

  • Session 8 Policy motivations for promoting
  • Aim of the lecture to introduce different
    perspectives on what motivates international
    democracy promotion (policy drivers, policy
    goals, policy ends).
  • The why they do, rather than why they should, or
    the intellectual justifications (see previous
    weeks) .
  • Put differently, what are the incentives.
  • Disentangling means and ends (objectives v
  • Disentangling surface rationalisations real
    or underlying reasons.

Plurality of types of actor with non-identical
missions and agendas
  • Foreign policy analysis gaining more
    respectability in social science.
  • Cross-over with foreign affairs think-tanks,
    foreign policy institutes/foundations.
  • But establishing motives not synonymous with
    foreign policy analysis of states
    inter-governmental organisations
    non-governmental organisations. And states are
    not monoliths (inter-departmental rivalries).
  • Two approaches to foreign policy analysis of
    states from the inside out (endogenous source)
    from the outside in (exogenous source).
  • If the real world is more interactive, tracing
    the internal mechanisms of the push me pull me
    process is the way forward to understanding
    policy, especially the evolution of policy. In
    principle it should be able to capture whether
    (and how) policy changes over time as a result of
    learning the lessons of experience about its
    effects (effectiveness), i.e. feedback loop.

Some Candidates
  • 1.Advancing democratic values and/or human rights
    for their own sake , i.e. idealism. But possibly
    also bound up with own identity (and sense of
    mission to lead). In the US ideas of manifest
    destiny as the first free nation go back to
    early 19th century . EU has equivalent sense of
    mission to show how countries can overcome a
    history of conflict by adopting the right
    political solution. Decline in popular support
    in US for democracy promotion. Should states have
    a moral purpose in their international relations,
  • 2.A strategic calculation to make the world a
    safer place (for self included) democratic peace
    thesis influential notwithstanding academic
    critiques ( the reasons why there is a
    coincidence more revealing than the coincidence
    e.g. it all depends on how we define the terms
    is a function of cold war is a function of
    shared prosperity and democratization is
    destabilising and can even spawn belligerence).
    Democracies initiate war on non-democracies,
    which is still a breach of international peace).

More recent candidates
  • 3.To enhance national security against new
    security threats, especially combating
    international terrorism after 9/11.
  • Cannot explain democracy promotion before 9/11.
  • And is terrorism really due to lack of
    democracy? Alternative origins social grievance
    nationalism specific roots in Middle East
    politics). Increase in democratic freedoms can
    account for increase in terrorism (at home).
  • Other new security threats illegal migrants
    (but do democracies manage their economies
    better?) and asylum seekers (democracies respect
    human rights) global environmental bads (but are
    democracies really more responsible in global
    environmental terms? We revisit the topic of
    climate change later in the module) health
    (would there be fewer pandemics in a world made
    up entirely of democracies?) global financial
    instability (democracies the source of recent
    instabilities!) energy security (no logical
    connection with type of regime, other than the
    evidence that national abundance in traded fossil
    fuels helps sustain regimes that are not
    (liberal) democratic, e.g. Gulf states, Saudi,
    Iran, Russia.

Less Reputable Candidates
  • 4. Life a relentless struggle for power after
    power (Hobbes Leviathan) means the pursuit of
    power or hegemony, world domination even, either
    for its own sake or to secure own
    self-preservation in a world where others pursue
    it for its own sake. Sought through cultural
    imperialism, the export of (political) values
    i.e. American values, or western values born of
    the European Enlightenment, and not really the
    universal values they are claimed to be). Old
    ways of exercising imperialism - military
    conquest and occupation of territory or economic
    domination or financial power (e.g. worlds
    reserve currency) are more costly and less
    feasible now than in the ages of pax Britannica
    and pax Amerciana. Colonising minds just a new
    phase of neo-colonialism.

  • 5. A public relations exercise deflect critical
    domestic or international attention from doing
    'business as usual' with tacky regimes that have
    political, economic or other assets. But in
    practice has opposite effect accusations of
    double standards and hypocrisy.
  • 6.As a corollary of the 'Washington policy
    consensus' democratisation (democratic
    governance) for the sake of structural economic
    adjustment and economic liberalisation. And
    reinforces a states obligation to repay debts to
    the IFIs (unlike odious debt).
  • 7. Above merges into a grander claim that
    democracy promotion is about making the whole
    world safe for capital - capitalism as an entire
    system of political economy which is the end,
    where economic liberalisation is just a means to
    help realise that end. Robinson on transnational
    corporations interest in pre-empting real
    democratic revolutions. But does capitalism and
    the pursuit of profit really need
    democracy/democratisation in China, Vietnam? US
    no longer has monopoly on TNCs.
  • Critical theorists critique the promotion of
    economically liberal democracy but disagree over
    whether promotion of other ideas of democracy
    (social democracy participatory democracy, etc )
    is acceptable - and feasible.

  • 8. The defensive turn now the rising power of
    autocracies competing for influence in the world
    means democracy promotion has to moderate its
    ambitions, however we choose to explain it
    before. It is no longer the pursuit of absolute
    power, but about slowing the decline in the
    Wests relative power. And it is not about
    seeking the triumph of certain ideas or ideology
    - neither democracy nor capitalism. Ideas and
    values revert to being just instruments in a new
    round of struggles between nations and states
    over regional and global balances of power, and
    will be either used or discarded as best serves
    the interests of the West in its power struggles.
    This new realist take on a new cold war (see
    Kagan The Return of History and the End of
    Dreams) consistent with recent criticisms of EU
    for declining commitment to international
    democracy promotion and of foreign policy
    adjustments early on in Obama presidency.

  • Concluding Reflections
  • Different answers or varying combinations of
    answer could explain pursuit of different objects
    such as human rights, democracy, and 'good
  • Different explanations or varying combinations
    could apply to different categories of
    democracy-promoting organisation (states
    international orgs., non-governmental actors) to
    different states (US Sweden, etc., variations
    among different EU member states) and successive
    governments within the same state and even
    within the same state structure (e.g. in UK
    between FCO DFID WFD in US between State
    Dept. and USAID let alone NED) and between
    factions within individual organisations, e.g.
    idealists v career bureaucrats).

  • The leading explanations/policy motors could
    change over time, e.g. from doing development
    in 1990s, through fighting terrorism after 9/11,
    to countering the growing international power of
    rival national states now.
  • And motives can sometimes be confused or unclear,
    or persist due to inertia but cease to mean very
  • So whatever explanation(s) you are attracted to,
    do what Popper says makes for a sound scientific
    method of inquiry look for evidence that would
    refute the claim, not just evidence that will
    offer support for (i.e. confirm) it. Apply the
    test that asks in principle can the claim be
    empirically falsified? , if you ever feel the
    need to avoid the temptations of conspiracy

And Whatever Explanation(s) You Settle on
  • At time the goals can be delusionary.
  • Because policy implementation can deviate from
    the policy aims and/or motivations.
  • Because policy outcomes can be unpredictable
    even perverse. The backlash against democracy
    promotion in the twenty first century suggests
  • Put differently, motives may not be a very
    reliable guide to what is attempted, and an even
    less reliable indicator of what is achieved. So
    do not extrapolate results from intentions! Even
    if you believe the US aspires to global
    domination through exporting its version of
    democracy, success could be along way off in
    fact, receding as we speak!
  • In theory, over time a policy-making feedback
    loop should help correct this. But our
    examination of the performance of democracy
    assistance in the spring term tells us not to
    count on it. That is to say, an experience of
    policy failures or policy mistakes does not
    always lead on to better or more successful

International Politics of Democracy Promotion
  • Session 9 Strategies for promoting democracy
    alternatives or complementary?

Aim of Lecture
  • to introduce the variety of patterns of
    interaction between democratisation and external
    actors in the international system, and to draw
    attention to significant differences among
    approaches to strategies for - promoting
    democracy abroad.

  • 'More than one way to skin a cat.
  • Not all cats are the same fitting the choice of
    strategy to the political situation and current
    direction of political travel in a country. For
    example one approach or set of approaches for
    toppling dictators, another for protecting a new
    democracy from internal subversion, and yet
    another for consolidating a democracy or helping
    it to become more democratic.
  • Could different approaches be mutually
    reinforcing, e.g. if used in the right sequence
    over time?
  • Important to distinguish between the nature of
    the relationship and the identity of the external
    actor (horses for courses).

Some analytical devices
  • Leverage v linkage to the West (Levitsky and
    Way). Linkage creates vulnerability to leverage,
    but is argued to be more effective at securing
    the sustained democratic transformation of a
  • Soft power (of attraction) v hard power
    (military might economic incentives).
  • Power continuum from assistance (consensual
    and nonviolent) and persuasion (reasoned
    argument) through influence (social learning
    acculturation conditionality to coercion - both
    military and non-military.
  • Toolbox instruments diplomatic skills
    political capital financial economic
    technical threat potential military capability.

Analytical devices continued
  • Active (intentional) v passive (unintended).
    Balance of effects.
  • Active direct impact on political variables
    indirect impact on politics through affecting
    economic or other variables.
  • On socialisation norm adoption v norm adaptation
    selection (filtering context matters).
  • More on socialisation norm conversion
    (internalisation, i.e. become democrats by
    conviction) v logic of consequences (change the
    incentive structure so that people will now
    calculate their interests differently, e.g. by
    making offers of rewards for compliance
    sanctions penalties for non-compliance. They
    become democrats for convenience or
    democracy without dmeocrats. Promoting
    democracy by applause one application offer of
    club membership.

  • a) By example, learning and imitation/emulation
    can be passive (unintended) but also a low-cost
    approach to active democracy promotion. Moral
    put own house in order first (both politically
    and economically?)
  • d) Helping pro-democracy forces to struggle is
    this democracy assistance, or democracy
    promotion? Does the answer depend on how it is
    done (the kind of support offered) and how
    strongly the authorities object?
  • Struggle can run away from/become out of control
    democracy support mission creep..
  • c) Second generation (i.e. political)
    conditionalities coercive? Under what conditions
    could they be construed as such? Are political
    conditionalities the same as (self-serving)
    political strings.

International influences are not everywhere or
always positive
  • a) Well-intentioned democracy interventions can
    backfire (examples of Trusteeships in Kosovo and
    Bosnia-H.?) or are ineffective (reasons will be
    explored in second term).
  • Even (negative)political conditionalities perform
    poorly, just like first generation (economic
    conditionalities) which failed to secure policy
    ownership. But positive conditionalities
    (inducements) now back in fashion in EU relations
    with near abroad.
  • b) Emergence of competition from autocracy
    promotion. Is this new kid of the block about
    supporting autocracy or about defending the
    sovereignty of autocracies?
  • c) Countervailing influence of other
    international forces, developments or events. For
    example are so-called crises of capitalism more
    accurately a crisis of/for democracy (and
    democracy promotion) as well? Is global climate
    change a serious threat to democracy and
    democratization (see week 22).

  • a) Different strategies to promote democracy
    abroad are conceivable all have been tried.
    Judging the right combination, at the right time,
    for the right case is very difficult. Trying to
    supporting democracy abroad is an art not a
  • b)The spread of democracy has not occurred solely
    because of 'imposition' by the West.
    External/internal interactions matter.
  • c) Has to be both opportunistic in responding
    quickly appropriately to (unforeseen) internal
    events and prepared to commit for the long haul.
  • d) Do not assume that political conditionality is
    effective. Even economic sanctions only rarely
    deliver the desired a result.
  • e) Technical assistance may not always be an
    exercise in political power, but it can become
    very political.

Conclusions continued
  • f)The effectiveness of international democracy
    promotion should be contextualised within a
    larger set of more diverse international
    influences on the prospects for democracy.
  • g) The global pathways to authoritarian/semi-autho
    ritarian resilience (and resurgence?) and their
    spread merit more attention now than in the 1990s
    and receive too little attention even now.
  • h) Democracy promotion not just a transfer from
    North to South. Do not forget the regional
    dimension, which could be positive or negative,
    e.g. effects of living in a good or bad
    neighbourhood intra-regional spill-overs
    (democracy racing v destabilisation of
    democratic initiatives by subversion by a nearby
    nondemocratic regime that feels threatened).

Finally, true or false?
  • The real contrast between democracy promotion and
    autocracy promotion is not that democracies will
    use only methods that fall short of coercion,
    whereas autocracies will happily use force.
    Instead, the real contrast is that democrats
    actually believe in the universal value of
    democracy, even when promoting democracy for
    self-regarding or instrumental reasons, whereas
    autocracies will support likeminded regimes only
    when and where they anticipate some benefit to
    themselves. Supporters of democracy and autocracy
    all dip into the same toolbox. It is just the
    ends that are different.

  • Session 10 Three agendas or one? Democracy,
    human rights and good governance
  • Aim of the Lecture to examine the relationships
    between the 3 agendas of democratic political
    reform, human rights and 'good governance'.
  • Do these provide the basis for a coherent
    strategy of international 'intervention' - a
    mutually reinforcing set of goals? Or are there
    tensions - conflicts even - among the different
    elements, which raises questions about what to
    give priority to and what are the right sequences
    to pursue.

1. The Democratic Political Reform Agenda
  • (Western style) liberal democracy has had a
    monopoly on democracy promotion, drawing on ideas
    of civil liberties as well as political rights,
    and consonant with a market approach to economic
    organisation (i..e economic liberalism).
  • More emphasis on freedom from the state (negative
    liberty) than freedom to become a full citizen
    (positive liberty),i.e. more like Locke than
    Rousseau. Formal equality of political
    opportunities not actual political equality.
    Common possession of rights based in law not
    necessarily amount to empowerment of the
  • But there are other less elitist - democratic
    models to compare ,e.g. social, radical,
    participatory, deliberative, as well as other
    approaches (conceptions?) like green and
    feminist approaches. Unresolved debates how far
    compatible with liberal democracy, or illiberal,
    or not fully democratic, or anti democratic? And