This book takes stock of democratic progress in the world, reflecting upon the causes of democratic difficulty in the world. Diamond addresses some of the critical conditions for democratic success, analyzes democratic dilemmas and prospects in particular regions and countries, and then concludes by assessing the policy implications for promoting and assisting democratic development internationally.
The book begins with a new Introduction that introduces the reader to the key concepts of electoral democracy, liberal democracy, consolidated democracy, and good governance, while explaining the relationships among these terms. It examines the quality of democracy, arguing that the prospects for democratic stability and consolidation depend on the improvement of democratic quality, so that democracy is deepened and becomes more liberal.
Part I provides the comparative and theoretical foundations of the book. Its opening chapter is a new essay that brings up to the current moment (using the Freedom House data through the end of 2009) the trends in freedom and democracy in the world and the recent travails of democracy. It updates arguments that we are in a period now of democratic recession, globally.
Part II of the book then looks at the circumstances of Africa and its search for democracy, analyzing the picture of democratic progress and difficulty in Africa up to the current moment.
Part III examines other cases such as China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Iraq.
Part IV of the book picks up on the arguments of many previous analytical chapters to advance a policy perspective: What should international actors do to promote and foster democratic development? Finally, the concluding chapter advances a new, post-Bush, strategy for “supporting democracy” around the world. This responds both to the challenge of democratic reversals taking place in the world, and recognizes the need for a more modest and humble approach in an era that follows the imperial over-reach and unilateralism of the George W. Bush era.