Multilateral Strategies to Promote Democracy

A Report of the Empire and Democracy Project

January 27, 2004

Multilateral Strategies to Promote Democracy

A panel of high-level peers met at the Council to develop multilateral strategies for democracy promotion. Impatient with the usual critique and lamentation, the participants focused on constructive avenues to produce change.

The discussion begins with two diagnostic questions: What is the state of democratization in the world today? How have democracy promotion strategies changed since September 11, given the transformed U.S. agenda of war on terror? The panelists provide insightful and important answers to these panoramic questions.

The panelists then explore the effectiveness of four strategies for promoting democracy:

    • Do economic reforms help or harm budding democracies?

    • How useful are indirect methods of democracy promotion, such as building civil societies and independent judiciaries.

    • When does it make sense to engage in direct confrontations with undemocratic rulers, from “naming and shaming” through to military conflict?

    • How can multilateral institutions and multi-stakeholder initiatives better encourage democratization?

The discussion concludes with a critique of whether economic incentives, such as sanctions, can motivate obedience to international democratic norms.

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