Geopolitical challenges to the success of democracy in North Africa: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco
Cavatorta, Francesco (2001) Geopolitical challenges to the success of democracy in North Africa: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Democratization, 8 (4). pp. 175-194. ISSN 1351-0347
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The promotion of democracy in developing countries has been at the top of the foreign policy agenda of most western countries in the last decade. This stems from the liberal sentiment that the spread of democracy is the basis for international peace. However, the continuities of power politics outnumber the novelties of the international environment. This paper argues that processes of democratisation cannot be simply understood in light of the role of new concepts such as international legal norms, liberal ideals and economic globalization. Geopolitical understanding is key to explaining both failures and successes of democratizations. The paper highlights how western promotion of democracy is in fact the pursuit of selfish interests and democracy is a criterion that powerful countries apply to serve their national interest. This can be clearly witnessed when accounting for western policies in the Maghreb where the west supports brutal authoritarian regimes for geopolitical benefits. The connection between western regimes and Maghreb reigning elites are examined to demonstrate how the discourse of democracy is replaced by the practice of repression.
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