Progress in Global Democracy

August 8, 2009

Democracy map globr


We now have a clear enough understanding of the Obama foreign policy so that I can critique it from the perspective of the democratic peace. To do so, I must return to the question of global democracy, and the democratic peace. As you should know if you had followed my democratic peace blog (an outline of the content is here), I believe that by theory and its historical tests, democracy is a road to global peace and human security. Democracies have not made war on each other; have minimal domestic violence; commit the least democide by far. Democracies have no famines. All this may shock some of you, but see the proof on my website and the above mentioned democratic peace blog.

However, this theory and its tests have been applied generally to previous centuries and were done a decade ago by many researchers (see the bibliography of this research here.). More recent research has produced arguments calling the democratic peace wrong or a myth. I shall go over all this and report on it here and on the democratic peace blog.

For now, I just want to link you to the best sites on the progress of democracy and globalization. One to check is Freedom House. It tracks and evaluates political changes in all countries, and rates each country as free (liberal democracies), partially free (which include electoral democracies), or not free. Its count for liberal and electoral democracies in 2008 (labeled for 2009, and mapped above) is 119. Of these, 89 are free—liberal democracies. This exceeds the critical number of democracies required to reduce violence and war in the world .

For ten years now there has been among the democracies, a top level World Movement for Democracy that includes democratic, activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders. It has biennial global assemblies of all these members, the last held in Kyiv, Ukraine. Most important, its major purpose is the promotion of democracy. It has its own website, and also a monthly DemocracyNews.

Finally, the most significant journal in this area is the Journal of Democracy. It says of itself:

The Journal of Democracy is far and away the most important forum for current debates about the nature and spread of liberal democracy around the world. It is an indispensable tool for anybody interested in comparative politics or international relations. A model for how to present serious intellectual content in a clear and accessible way, a standing rebuke to both the slop that often passes for political journalism and the irrelevant gibberish that often passes for social science.