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  • Author: Mackubin Thomas Owens, Stephen F. Knott
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: As Americans, we take for granted the idea of a government that is both free and yet strong enough to preserve the security of its citizens. But the fact is that such a government is a recent invention, first emerging as a result of political thought and practice in eighteenth century England and only coming to full flower in Philadelphia with the drafting of the American Constitution of 1787. As Harvey Mansfield wrote in his book Taming the Prince, “the combination of freedom and strength does not arise easily or naturally,” a fact confirmed “both by the grand outline of modern history and the experience of the ancients.” Throughout history, strong governments have generally been monarchies, but at the expense of freedom. It was in republics that freedom was supposed to reside but, before the creation of the American Republic, the republican form of government had a mixed record at best. Ancient republics were characterized by constant struggle between the few (oligarchs) and the many (the demos) that led to instability and weakness. Modern republics also either came to grief (the German cities) or faded into irrelevance and obscurity (Venice and the Dutch Republic). But in Philadelphia, the Founders created a government that combined the freedom of republics with the strength of monarchies. The Founders’ innovation that permitted this pairing of freedom and security to work was the “executive.” In Mansfield’s words, “the executive provided the strength of monarchy without tolerating its status above the law, so that monarchy would not only be compatible with the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution, but would also be expected to serve both. Furthermore, the recasting of monarchy as executive power made it dependably democratic as well as legal and constitutional.”
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Governance, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erik Sportel (ed), Vasili Tchkoidze (ed)
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: Since the 2003 Rose Revolution, Georgia has undertaken serious reforms, moving the country towards becoming a democracy anda market economy. Instead of proceeding at a steady pace, Georgia haschosen to take an accelerated path to reform. Since coming to office,the Saakashvili administration has underlined its ambition to bring Georgia into Euro-Atlantic structures. After an energetic start, Georgia ran into difficulties in late 2007 and 2008. During this period, the democratic credentials of the Saakashvili government were put to the test for the first time.The government was faced with massive public demonstrations, to which it responded in a heavy-handed fashion. The security forces attacked protesters, and the government declared a state of emergency, blaming the unrest on Russia. Many domestic and foreign observers feared that Georgia was abandoning the road to democracy. However, the state of emergency was soon lifted, and the government called an early presidential election. International observers judged the election to be largely democratic, despite some irregularities, but opposition forces claimed that the president's results had been boosted by fraud. Mr Saakashvili won an absolute majority in the first round of polling. The subsequent parliamentary elections in the spring of 2008 gave the ruling United National Movement party a landslide victory. With 119 out of 150 seats, theparty currently holds a two-thirds majority in parliament. The two major opposition parties (winning 17 and six seats respectively) refused to take their seatsin parliament.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia