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.
President Bush concludes his Middle East trip with a visit to Egypt, who is an important anchor for the moderate coalition resisting the growing influence of Iran in the region. Despite its strong relationship with the U.S., Egypt has experienced unprecedented civil unrest in recent months as democratization efforts have effectively hit rock bottom in the nation.
World Public Opinion conducted a global poll on citizen attitudes toward democracy, which found widespread support for democratic principles. Clear majorities in all countries and 84 percent of respondents overall endorse elections as the preferred means to select leaders.
Robert Kagan and The New York Times’ David Brooks discussed Kagan’s new book The Return of History and the End of Dreams.
Lebanon’s prolonged political crisis erupted in violence last week following the dismissal by the Lebanese government of an official close to Hizbollah and the launch an investigation into the organization’s telecommunications network. Contrary to a similar escalation in December 2006, Iran has not interceded to halt the violence.
Russia is asserting its petro power, Chinese nationalism grows in response to criticism on Tibet, the dictators of Burma resist international aid, the crisis in Darfur is still raging, Iran continues to pursue a nuclear regime, and Robert Mugabe still clings violently to power in Zimbabwe. The world needs a league or concert of democratic nations.
Since the inauguration, the presidential web site has evolved into the domain of President Dmitry Medvedev, and the updated version of the White House's web site now carries information about Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's activities. But the smooth transfer of power between presidents is a complicated process, and it is important to examine how Medvedev will be able to build constructive relationships with the regions.
The vision is grand, the reality less so. Russia's foreign policy has been merely assertive and reactive up till now. Will the new President manage something more constructive?
The Bush administration is using its final months to try to gain agreement on a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict—but much of the framework supporting such an agreeement has collapsed. The next president will face a series of bleak choices, of which a two-state solution remains the most attractive.
Washington's strategic confusion on the logic of NATO expansion to Georgia and Ukraine split the alliance, undermined democratic reforms abroad, and helped bring out the worst in Moscow's relations with the West. Washington should convince skeptics of its sincerity on the importance of democratic reforms by setting stringent political standards for potential members.