The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas

The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas

The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas

The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas

Synopsis

In recent years, and especially following the end of the cold war, democratization has become one of the most crucial issues on the international political scene. Here, highly respected scholars from around the world explore the role and importance of international relations in the democratic development of states in the Americas and Europe, combining theoretical approaches with a rich set of empirical case studies.

Excerpt

This volume went to press in December 1994, just five years after the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. That anniversary of the West's victory in the Cold War was marked by a series of summit meetings (in Essen, Miami, and Ouro Preto) each of which seemed to signal a new stage in democracy promotion through regional co-operation. In Essen, Germany, the twelve existing member states of the European Union (soon to increase to fifteen) opened the door to the eventual enlargement to include up to ten post-Communist market democracies from Eastern Europe. At the same time, in Miami, Florida, the thirty-four directly elected Presidents and heads of government attending the 'Summit of the Americas' adopted a series of measures intended to 'preserve and strengthen' the community of Western hemisphere democracies, and also set the end of 2005 as the deadline by which this political community would agree on a Free Trade Area of the Americas. In Ouro Preto, Brazil, the four elected Presidents of Mercosur signed a protocol to the founding Treaty of Asunción creating an institutional framework for the emerging common market, which among other provisions established a Joint Parliamentary Commission with not merely consultative, but also deliberative, powers on integration issues.

This volume provides a historically grounded analysis of the significance and limitations of such attempts at 'democracy-by- convergence'. It reconsiders some established ideas about the relationship between domestic and international factors in recent democratization processes. The geographical and temporal scope of the analysis is deliberately circumscribed. The focus is on Europe and the Americas in the late Cold War and early post-Cold War period, for that is where and when such regionally based democratization initiatives have become manifest, and where private and semi-governmental levels of international co-operation in support of democracy (such as the party internationals and political foundations) have the longest track-record and the greatest organizational density. It remains an open question whether these initiatives will live up to current expectations even in these two regions, and more pertinently whether these patterns are transferable to

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