Democracy promotion has had a tough decade, nowhere more so than in the Middle East. In Working Paper 12 Steven Heydemann reviews the policy paper Beyond Orthodox Approaches: Assessing Opportunities for Democracy Support in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ten years ago, the democratic optimism that followed the end of the Cold War was in relatively good health. Today, after a decade of authoritarian reversals, a sustained “backlash against democracy promotion,” and authoritarian resurgence from Russia to Africa to Latin America, post-Cold War optimism has given way to a darker, more sober assessment of democratization’s limits. The Middle East in particular, with not a single experience of transition from Morocco to Iran, has been the crucible of hard-won lessons about the durability of authoritarian regimes and their resilience even in the face of quite extraordinary pressures.
This publication is part of the working paper series of the Knowledge Programme Civil Society in West Asia.