The End of the Cold War

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The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in major shift in United States foreign policy. For years, the United States supported tyrannical dictators in return for stable anti-communist government receptive to United States interests. The Cold War resulted in a new world order with the United States as the lone global hegemonic power. In Eastern Europe in particular, the end of the Cold War ushered in an era of economic growth and a large increase in the number of liberal democracies. Although the world saw a large increase in liberal democracies, a new regime type referred to as competitive authoritarianism began to emerge. According to Levitsky and Way, “In competitive authoritarian regimes, formal democratic institutions are widely viewed as the principal means of obtaining and exercising political authority. Incumbents violate those rules so often and to such an extent, however, that the regime fails to meet conventional minimum standards for democracy” . In labeling these regimes as authoritarian and not democratic, Levitsky and Way place emphasis on the importance of differentiating these questionable regimes from prototypical democracies. In their definition they argue that all democracies have four inherent traits; “Executives and legislatures are chosen through Elections that are open, free, and fair, virtually all adults possess the right to vote, political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of the press, association, to criticize the government are protected and elected authorities possess real authority to govern, in that they are not subject to the tutelary control of military or clerical leaders” . These, Levitsky and Way argue are fundamental for the prospects of democracy. ... ... middle of paper ... ...these competitive authoritarianism regimes, strong elements of linkage need to be enabled. Through social, economic and political linkage, the foundations of democracy can gradually manifest and inevitably foster democracy. The ongoing revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East are proof that democratic change can happen with limited Western leverage and that linkage is the underlying factor for permanent change. Works Cited Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan Way. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. New York: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print. Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan Way. "International Linkage and Democratization." Journal of Democracy 16.3 (2005): 20-34. Print. Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan Way. "Linkage versus Leverage: Rethinking the International Dimension of Regime Change." Comparative Politics 38.4 (2006): 379-400. Print.
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