The end of democratic conditionality: good riddance?

FRIDE In recent years, the use of democratic conditionality has almost disappeared from Western foreign policies. Governments have reverted to attaching a high priority to deepening political engagement with autocratic regimes. Democratic conditionality has been superseded by more immediate, short-term security measures.

So, is it time simply to relinquish the whole notion of trying to press and cajole non-democratic regimes towards political openness? This paper argues that engagement with non-democratic regimes is desirable, but that political leverage is also needed to unblock the potential of liberalising reform. Western governments concerned with advancing democracy internationally need to move from narrowly conceived conditionality to broader means of exerting political pressure.

Access the full paper by Richard Youngs here.

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