Thomas Carothers

Vice President for Studies
Carothers is a leading authority on international support for democracy, rights, and governance and on comparative democratization as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy.
 

Education

JD, Harvard Law School
MSc, London School of Economics
AB, Harvard College

Languages

English; French; Spanish

Contact Information

 

Thomas Carothers is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the founder and director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and oversees Carnegie Europe in Brussels.

Carothers is a leading authority on international support for democracy, rights, and governance and on comparative democratization as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy. He has worked on democracy-assistance projects for many public and private organizations and carried out extensive field research on international aid efforts around the world. In addition, he has broad experience in matters dealing with human rights, the rule of law, civil society building, and think tank development in transitional and developing countries.

He is the author of six critically acclaimed books as well as many articles in prominent journals and newspapers. Carothers has also worked extensively with the Open Society Foundations (OSF), including currently as chair of the OSF Think Tank Fund and previously as chair of the OSF Global Advisory Board. He is an adjunct professor at the Central European University in Budapest and was previously a visiting faculty member at Nuffield College, Oxford University, and Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Prior to joining the Endowment, Carothers practiced international and financial law at Arnold & Porter and served as an attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.

Carothers is the co-author (with Diane de Gramont) of Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution (Carnegie, 2013) and author of Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies (Carnegie, 2006); Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge (Carnegie, 2006); Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, co-edited with Marina Ottaway (Carnegie, 2005); Critical Mission: Essays on Democracy Promotion (Carnegie, 2004); Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion, co-edited with Marina Ottaway (Carnegie, 2000); Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve (Carnegie, 1999); and Assessing Democracy Assistance: The Case of Romania (Carnegie, 1996).

  • Q&A August 14, 2014 Русский 中文
    Is the World Falling Apart?

    The world can be an awfully dangerous and unpredictable place.

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  • Article June 3, 2014
    Non-Western Roots of International Democracy Support

    Rising democracies are becoming key players in global democracy promotion, but they often struggle to detach the external support they provide from their own transition experiences.

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  • Op-Ed Al Masry Al Youm May 1, 2014 عربي
    What the United States Wants in Egypt

    Many Egyptians feel a sense that the United States profoundly misunderstands Egyptian realities and wants to marginalize Egypt.

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  • Op-Ed New York Times April 15, 2014
    Legitimate, but Risky

    The United States must weigh a series of complicating factors in deciding whether and how to proceed with democracy support activities in antagonistic contexts like Cuba.

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  • Op-Ed Oxfam’s From Poverty to Power March 6, 2014
    The Civil Society Flashpoint

    A growing number of governments now treat the concept of civil society as a code word for powerful political subversives, usually assumed to be doing the bidding of the West.

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  • Report February 20, 2014 Full Text
    Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire

    After seeing its reach increase for decades, international support for democracy and human rights now faces a serious challenge.

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  • Op-Ed Washington Post January 23, 2014
    Egypt’s Evolving Governance is No ‘Democratic Transition’

    Washington must not pretend that some empty imitations of democratic processes, such as the recent referendum, constitute a meaningful return to the path toward “bread, freedom and social justice” that Egyptians rightfully demanded in 2011.

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  • Op-Ed Oxfam From Poverty to Power June 17, 2013
    Politically Smart Aid? Of Course! Political Aid? Not So Sure!

    Within the aid community, there are sharply divergent views on how political development assistance is and how political it should be.

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  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy May 21, 2013
    The Prickly Politics of Aid

    Development aid is inherently political, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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  • Egypt’s Dismal Opposition: A Second Look
    Article May 14, 2013 عربي
    Egypt’s Dismal Opposition: A Second Look

    It is time for U.S. and other Western observers to put aside comparisons based on imagined ideals of opposition quality and behavior and more realistically and thoughtfully attempt to understand Egypt’s new political life and possible political futures.

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  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace April 16, 2013
    Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution

    The overdue recognition that development in all sectors is an inherently political process is driving international aid providers to try to learn how to think and act politically.

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  • Book Review September 17, 2008
    Democracy and Discontent

    The next U.S. administration will have to go beyond simply righting the wrongs of President Bush’s democracy promotion policies and reformulate the United States’ understanding of the relationship between its own democracy and the struggling democratic systems it seeks to help abroad.

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  • Washington October 23, 2006
    Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies

    Political parties are the weakest link in many democratic transitions around the world—frequently beset with persistent problems of self-interest, corruption, ideological incoherence, and narrow electoralism. Thomas Carothers draws on extensive field research to diagnose deficiencies in party aid, assess its overall impact, and offer practical ideas for doing better.

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  • Washington January 1, 2006
    Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge

    Promoting the rule of law has become a major part of Western efforts to spread democracy and market economics around the world. Although programs to foster the rule of law abroad have mushroomed, well-grounded knowledge about what factors ensure success, and why, remains scarce.

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  • Washington January 1, 2005
    Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East

    The United States faces no greater challenge today than successfully fulfilling its new ambition of helping bring about a democratic transformation of the Middle East. Uncharted Journey contributes a wealth of concise, illuminating insights on this subject, drawing on the contributors’ deep knowledge of Arab politics and their experience with democracy-building in other parts of the world.

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  • Washington September 1, 2004
    Critical Mission: Essays on Democracy Promotion

    Demand for practical knowledge and lessons about how the United States and other countries can more effectively promote democracy around the world has never been higher. This timely book by Thomas Carothers, one of the foremost authorities worldwide on democracy-building, helps meet that need.

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  • Washington October 27, 2000
    Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion

    A diverse, distinguished group of democracy experts and civil society practitioners from both donor and recipient countries analyze civil society aid in five regions, including country case studies of South Africa, the Philippines, Peru, Egypt, and Romania.

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  • Washington December 31, 1999
    Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve

    This book examines democracy aid programs relating to elections, political parties, governmental reform, rule of law, civil society, independent media, labor unions, decentralization, and other elements of what Carothers describes as "the democracy template" that policy makers and aid officials apply around the world.

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  • Africa's New Leaders
    Washington December 31, 1999
    Africa's New Leaders: Democracy or State Reconstruction?

    This is an important resource for policy makers and others forced to deal with countries where democratic change is both complex and protracted.

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  • Washington January 1, 1996 Washington, D.C.
    Assessing Democracy Assistance: The Case of Romania

    This landmark study, an examination of U.S. democracy assistance efforts in Romania, is the first comprehensive analysis of the workings—and failings—of U.S. democracy assistance in one country.

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  • CBC September 12, 2013
    Syrian Chemical Weapons Plan

    A Russia-brokered deal, which seeks to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, provides the Obama administration with breathing room but fails to solve the fundamental issues driving the Syrian conflict.

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  • BBC World News July 1, 2013
    Uprising in Egypt

    The U.S. government should refrain from doing anything that would suggest interference in Egypt’s internal developments and instead support a peaceful resolution by domestic civilian actors.

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  • RT CrossTalk November 5, 2012
    Exporting Freedom?

    The United States must balance its goal of democracy promotion with its economic, political, and security interests.

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  • Foreign Policy Association October 28, 2011
    U.S. Response to the Arab Spring

    U.S. ambivalence toward the popular democratic outbursts of the Arab Spring stems from Washington’s economic and security concerns in the region.

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  • CSIS June 28, 2011
    What Does the Arab Spring Mean for Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus?

    The Arab Spring has more in common with events in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s than Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. The impact of events in the Middle East for states outside the region will depend on the legitimacy and adaptability of their regimes.

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  • KERA July 23, 2008
    A League of Democracies

    Carnegie's Thomas Carothers gives an in-depth interview on the proposed "League of Democracies" with Dallas’ NPR-affiliate, KERA. Carothers discusses the problems a league or concert of democracies would face in defining and selecting democratic member states—further undermining the credibility of U.S. democracy promotion efforts around the world.

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  • Thomas Carothers
    Worldview May 19, 2008
    Improving U.S. Democracy Promotion Policy

    In his second inaugural, Bush put democracy promotion at the top of his foreign policy agenda and argued that the events of his first term proved that our freedom is inextricably linked to the freedom abroad. Thomas Carothers discusses the reputation of U.S. democracy promotion in the world and what a post-Bush administration can do to reclaim democracy promotion credibility in the world.

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Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=9
 
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