1st Edition

Democracy Promotion and the Challenges of Illiberal Regional Powers

Edited By Nelli Babayan, Thomas Risse Copyright 2016
    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines Western efforts at democracy promotion, reactions by illiberal challengers and regional powers, and political and societal conditions in target states. It is argued that Western powers are not unequivocally committed to the promotion of democracy and human rights, while non-democratic regional powers cannot simply be described as "autocracy supporters". This volume examines in detail the challenges by three illiberal regional powers — China, Russia and Saudi Arabia — to Western (US and EU) efforts at democracy promotion. The contributions specifically analyze their actions in Ethiopia and Angola in the case of China, Georgia and Ukraine in the case of Russia, and Tunisia in the case of Saudi Arabia. Democratic powers such as the US or the EU usually prefer stability over human rights and democracy. If democratic movements threaten stability in a region, neither the US nor the EU supports them. As to illiberal powers, they are generally not that different from their democratic counterparts. They also prefer stability over turmoil. Neither Russia nor China nor Saudi Arabia explicitly promote autocracy. Instead, they seek to suppress democratic movements in their periphery the minute these groups threaten their security interests or are perceived to endanger their regime survival. This was previously published as a special issue of Democratization.

    1. Democracy promotion and the challenges of illiberal regional powers
    Thomas Risse and Nelli Babayan

    2. Democracy promotion and China: blocker or bystander?
    Dingding Chen and Katrin Kinzelbach

    3. Not as bad as it seems: EU and US democracy promotion faces China in Africa
    Christine Hackenesch

    4. The return of the empire? Russia’s counteraction to transatlantic democracy promotion in its near abroad
    Nelli Babayan

    5. Spoiler or facilitator of democratization?: Russia’s role in Georgia and Ukraine
    Laure Delcour and Kataryna Wolczuk

    6. Undermining the transatlantic democracy agenda? The Arab Spring and Saudi Arabia’s counteracting democracy strategy
    Oz Hassan

    7. Local actors in the driver’s seat: Transatlantic democracy promotion under regime competition in the Arab world
    Tina Freyburg and Solveig Richter

    8. The noble west and the dirty rest? Western democracy promoters and illiberal regional powers
    Tanja A. Börzel


    Nelli Babayan is a Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, DC and Associate Fellow at the Center for Transnational Studies, Foreign and Security Policy, Freie Universität Berlin. She is the author of "Democratic Transformation and Obstruction: EU, US, and Russia in the South Caucasus" (2015).

    Thomas Risse is Professor of International Relations at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin. His latest publications include "A Community of Europeans? Transnational Identities and Public Spheres" (2010) and "European Public Spheres: Politics Is Back" (2014).