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  • Author: Alex Thurston
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Islamists have become an important political force in Mauritania since formal Islamist associations first emerged in the 1970s. Islamist activism has contributed to the ongoing Islamization of Mauritanian society, as is evident from the proliferation of mosques and Islamic associations in the capital, Nouakchott, and elsewhere. In the 1990s, political liberalization allowed Islamists to participate in elections as independents, and since its legalization in 2007, Tewassoul, the strongest Islamist party in Mauritania today, has become a significant minority voice in the country's politics and has built ties with Islamists elsewhere in the Arab world. These moderate Islamists who participate in elections hold different beliefs and goals from Mauritania's jihadist fringe. Overall, Mauritanian Islamism does not currently pose a threat to the United States. The mainstream of the movement appears committed to democracy and, even so, is unlikely to take power. Islamist parties like Tewassoul have never captured a large share of the vote in elections, and moderate Islamist leaders have explicitly rejected using violence to take over the state. Indeed, the United States may even find an upside to the Islamists' rise: Mainstream Islamist leaders publicly condemn the Muslim terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which the Mauritanian government has been combating since 2005.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, North Africa
  • Author: Jonas Wolff
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Bolivia offers a critical, but atypical, case for international democracy promotion. The ongoing political transformation initiated by President Evo Morales constitutes one of the few experiences in the world of a serious effort to build a democracy different from the existing Western liberal models. And this presents a significant challenge to democracy promotion efforts.
  • Topic: Democratization, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers, Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The emergence of a multipolar world gives Western democracy advocates cause for both optimism and anxiety. China's success sparks fears of the spread of an autocratic development model. Yet democratic states such as Brazil, Indonesia, India, South Africa, and Turkey are also gaining ground. These countries serve as powerful examples of the universal appeal of democracy and possess unique experiences with democratization. The United States and Europe understandably hope that rising democracies will use their growing prominence to defend democratic values abroad, potentially revitalizing international democracy support.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Indonesia, Turkey, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Pessimism about the progress of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds has risen sharply in recent years. Negative developments in a variety of countries, such as military coups, failed elections, and the emergence of antidemocratic populist leaders, have caused some observers to argue that democracy is in retreat and authoritarianism on the march. A broad look at the state of democracy around the world reveals however that although the condition of democracy is certainly troubled in many places, when viewed relative to where it was at the start of this decade, democracy has not lost ground in the world overall. The former Soviet Union is the one region where democracy has clearly slipped backward in this decade, primarily as a result of Russia's authoritarian slide. The Middle East has also been a source of significant disappointment on democracy but mostly in comparison with unrealistic expectations that were raised by the Bush administration. In most of the rest of the world good news with respect to democratization is found in roughly equal proportion to bad news and considerable continuity has prevailed as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As they emerge from conflict, states can rarely commence the arduous task of reconstruction and consolidate their governments until they undertake extensive restructuring of their security forces. Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen are all fractured, quasi-democratic states with divided societies, and deep disagreement over what constitutes the national interest. Successful reform in each will require security institutions that answer to democratically-elected civilian leaders, but the U.S. and European approach has thus far focused largely on providing military training and equipment, targeted toward counterterrorist capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: President Obama and his foreign policy team are only just starting to confront the challenge of reformulating U.S. democracy promotion policy. Crucial to any such effort will be revitalizing democracy assistance, a domain that has expanded greatly over the past 25 years but risks not adapting adequately to meet the challenges of the new landscape of democratic stagnation in the world. As the largest source of U.S. democracy assistance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a natural starting point for such a process of revitalization.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, International Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As part of the changed U.S. geostrategic outlook arising from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, the Bush administration is giving greatly heightened attention to the issue of promoting democracy in the Middle East. Although a policy of coercive regime change has been applied in Iraq, in most of the region the administration is pursuing a more gradualist model of political change that emphasizes diplomatic pressure and democracy-related aid.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since early last year, the Bush administration has paid unaccustomed attention to the issue of democracy in the Middle East. Following September 11, many U. S. officials have worried that the authoritarianism of most Arab regimes has bred frustration in their countries, and this frustration has in turn favored the growth of terrorist organizations. U.S. discussions about the need for democracy in the Middle East have triggered a strong negative reaction by Arab commentators and journalists, including in discussions of democracy in the Arab press. However, very little of this writing has dealt with the problem of democracy in the real sense—that is, with the issue of how Arab governments relate to their citizens now and how they should relate to their citizens in the future. Instead, Arab commentators have treated democracy as a foreign policy issue, asking why the United States is suddenly discussing democracy in the Arab world and what true intentions it is trying to hide behind the smoke screen of democracy talk. The debate in the Arab press reveals some of the obstacles that the United States faces as it attempts to define its new pro-democracy role in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: George Perkovich, Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: American televisions are filled with war rooms, countdowns, deadlines, and showdowns with Iraq. The almost minute by minute coverage distorts public understanding of how inspections work and creates a false sense of the inevitability of war. No decision has in fact been made. Within the administration some indeed intend the buildup as the prelude to war while for others it presents the credible threat of war that is necessary to compel Iraq's disarmament through inspections.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Frank Upham
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As governments and donor agencies struggle over questions of aid and international development, a growing consensus is emerging regarding the connections between poor governance and underdevelopment. An increasing number of initiatives, from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account to the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), explicitly link improving governance with pursuing sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Lack of pluralism and transparency, inefficient bureaucracies, and underdeveloped public institutions contribute to corruption, reduce governmental responsiveness to citizens' needs, stifle investment, and generally hamper social and economic development. A frequent donor favorite on the laundry list of “good governance” reforms advocated for developing countries is rule of law reform. The new development model contends that sustainable growth is impossible without the existence of the rule of law: a set of uniformly enforced, established legal regimes that clearly lays out the rules of the game.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States