Democracy: A Global Revolution?

Courtesy Reuters

A tide of democratic change is sweeping the world, not only in the once-monolithic communist regions but also in a wave that started in Mediterranean Europe in the mid-1970s and spread to Latin America, Asia, Africa and, even, South Africa.

Remarkably, the current demise of communism and the movement toward democracy have come not in the aftermath of destructive war but in an unprecedented half-century of global peace. Indeed they come at a time when the Cold War has ended, regional conflicts from Central America to Southeast Asia have abated, and Europe, the very powder keg of global wars from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, has moved into a historic process of economic and political unification.

Why is all this happening? Why have communist and Third World dictatorships embarked upon their various moves toward democracy?

Factors specific to each country are obvious: an ailing or aging dictator

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