6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Does Democracy Matter?

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

Negative experiences from state-building projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mixed record of democratic change in the former Soviet Union and the aftermath of Arab Spring have led many to question the efficacy of democracy promotion. Some argue that Western democracy support is ineffective at its best and counterproductive at its worst.

Is there a case for continuing efforts to encourage transitions to democracy? The unresolved Ukraine crisis has heightened the importance of this question.

Taking stock of democracy promotion over the past 30 years, what are its strengths and weaknesses? If U.S. and European democracy promotion should be continued, how can it be better targeted and reformed to more effectively advance democratization in post-authoritarian societies? If such assistance programs deserve to be terminated, should there be alternative policies to support human rights and other aspects of pluralism?

This event is co-sponsored by the Foreign Policy Research Institute.