Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I know they hate the State Department, and I know they hate to read.

But damn, could this have been any more predictable?

• Simply installing a democratic or partially democratic regime is unlikely to produce political stability. When considering policy options, the full range of risk factors confronting such regimes should be in taken into account. Efforts to reduce the vulnerability of new or partial democracies to state failure are unlikely to succeed unless they also address other risk-mitigating factors, such as high levels of material well-being and openness to trade.

• Elections themselves do little to ensure the stability of democracy. In fact, the major democratic institution we found to be most strongly associated with instability in partial democracies is some form of executive or legislative elections. What seems to distinguish the more stable democracies from the unstable partial democracies is not the occurrence of elections but the presence of legislatures that are genuinely effective at making laws and constraining executive authority. (p. 36)

Our analysis shows that Muslim countries with democratic or partially democratic regimes confront odds of failure more than five times as high as Muslim autocracies. At first blush, that finding seems to support the view that Islam and democracy mix uneasily. In fact, democracies and partial democracies historically have failed at about the same rate around the globe as they do in the Muslim world. (p. 49)

That's from a State Department analysis in 2000 (PDF). It's got statistics and everything. I just got it so I haven't read its full 250 pages, but on first blush it makes a pretty convincing case that "spreading freedom and democracy" isn't, like, exactly the same thing as spreading stability and creating a more pro-U.S. world. Especially if you just go in and break shit and call it a plan.


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