Interventionism and democratization : how the way we promote democracy is leading to its decline

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Jafarpour-Davatgar, Cedric-Vahid
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Democracy promotion has been a major goal of the foreign policy initiatives of the world’s leading countries and intergovernmental bodies since the fall of the Berlin wall. Despite this, in its most recent report the V-Dem Institute confirmed that after a decade of democratic decline, 2019 was the first year since 2001 where autocracies outnumber democracies. These two things are deeply interrelated by the philosophy of interventionism which has been at the core of numerous democratization policies while also contributing heavily to declining democratic standards, human rights abuses and a rise in authoritarianism. This thesis will reflect on the history of democratic rule and democracy promotion to better understand how we have arrived at this very concerning moment in political history. A historical analysis of a variety of case studies that touch upon multiple different iterations of democracy promotion through interventionism will highlight just how harmful these policies have been. The final chapter will look at the success of internal actors at spurring unprecedented levels of mobilization for democracy throughout the 2010s and how the international community can empower these movements with a collaborative approach to democracy building. Ultimately, this thesis advocates for the adoption of a more nuanced attitude towards democracy promotion that handles policy decisions on a case-by-case basis rather than the rigid universal interventionism we have seen thus far.
Second semester University: University of Vilnius
democracy, democratisation, human rights violations, authoritarianism