Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025

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Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025

By Mark Palmer
Rowman & Littlefield, 2003
320 pp. $27.95

This former diplomat, Reagan speech-writer, and democracy activist makes a dramatic call for a final global campaign to oust the world's remaining autocratic regimes. His case for action goes beyond the war on terror to include the wider array of maladies linked to dictatorship: famine, refugees, poverty, environmental degradation, corruption, war, and genocide. Inspired by the democratic transitions in Eastern Europe (which he witnessed as U.S. ambassador to Hungary), Palmer articulates a vision of a fully democratic world in which most of the world's most thorny challenges -- violence in the Middle East, the dangerous flashpoints along the Taiwan Strait and the Korean demilitarized zone -- suddenly become more tractable. He challenges the prevailing scholarly wisdom about the potential for democratic change, arguing that uprisings are possible in even the most backward authoritarian states -- if only the United States and its partners provided proper encouragement. He also rejects the priorities of traditional geopolitical thinking, which values the stability of strategic partnerships with countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia regardless of their lamentable domestic failings. Let the debate begin.

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