These ideologies were rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment , which aimed at improving the human stock driving them intro modernity and had a dark side that was often linked to imperialism and colonialism.
By analyzing the discourse of liberal peacebuilding, we can find similar connotations. We once more see the construction of the East by the West through an Orientalised set of lenses that highlights its perceived backwardness. Although most academics advocating for liberal peacebuilding are neither cynics nor imperialists and genuinely believe that liberal democracy can better the life of many people across the globe, the language of liberal peacebuilding and democratisation gives rise to this bifurcated narrative Heathershaw ; Most importantly the eventual polity and identity will have to be compatible with liberalism and neoliberal economics Paris ; ; Barkawi ; The case of Tunisia is illustrative.
Tunisia is arguably the most promising state, in terms of its potential to democratize, to emerge from the upheaval of the Arab Spring Gerges In its efforts to achieve democracy along with some semblance of financial and economic stability it has turned towards Western economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund IMF for support. This culminated in a program of liberal economic reforms as part of its transition to democracy Ibid; Reuters Reuters ; Economist ; Chandoul The tension between democracy and liberal market economics has even been stressed out by scholars advocating liberal peacebuilding model arguing that the overemphasis on economic liberalization runs the risk of endangering the whole peacebuilding process Paris ; ; In many cases, democratization and liberal peacebuilding fail to grasp the cultural and structural specificities of a region, thus, leading to an unstable democratization process that could lead to further destabilization and conflict.
Theorists of democratization like Jarstad and Sisk have placed extensive emphasis on the role of local identities and how they can become part of an integrative or power sharing approach of democratisation. These are notions that go further than rigid consociationalism found in traditional peacekeeping solution.
This process envisages the creation of political parties that run across an ethnic, racial or religious divide essentially outlining a framework for social reengineering whilst managing the conflict Sisk ; What is missing from their accounts is the role of neoliberal economics and the primacy they attain in the minds of key Western actors Dodge In many cases neoliberal economic reform leads to further destabilization Dodge The aim of the following section is twofold; the first is to showcase the limitations of liberal peacebuilding and democratisation through the examples of the US efforts to democratize Afghanistan and Iraq; the second is to present the emerging of an alternative mode of conflict management that is authoritarian in nature and offers a credible challenge to the various forms of liberal peace building.
Additionally, in his address to the armed forces before the war in Iraq juxtaposed the American with their Iraqi counterparts arguing that the US military is a liberator whereas its enemy has no respect for the rules of war Bush Simultaneously, in his accounts President Bush and the US administration framed both the Afghanistan and the Iraq interventions in the language of liberal democracy accusing the Taliban and the Baathist regime as violators of human rights promising to emancipate the Afghan and Iraqi people from the tyranny they were experiencing Dodge ; The poor choice of words by the American President gave the semblance of a civilizing mission Bush ; Lears Nonetheless, apart from the framing of the interventions in liberal discourse the US and its allies and the UN in the case of Afghanistan moved on to implement a maximalist neoliberal approach to the rebuilding and democratisation of Iraq and Afghanistan Dodge ; The extent of the US commitment is illustrated by the sums of money they invested in these regions.
Instead, because of these actions the region has been further destabilised making it fragile to Great Power intervention and civil strife in a stark parallel to the imperial era. As Gerges ; argued, the US invasion of Iraq, drove sectarian sections high. The aggressive liberal peacebuilding that attacked the Sunni dominated state institutions — the dismantlement of the Iraqi army is a clear illustration of this process — led many Sunni Muslims towards fundamentalist groups since they felt that through the process of De-Baathification they were marginalized, ostracized from the political sphere and threatened in their own country Dodge ; The boycott to the constitutional elections along with the election Nuri al-Maliki highlight Sunni disenchantment with the post-Saddam Iraq Gerges ; This disillusionment was a result of the American invasion and subsequently fueled the ranks of ISIS with dissatisfied Sunni Muslims, who had often passed from the cells of Abu Ghraib.
The withdrawal of US troops in , along with the turmoil in the region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring created a power vacuum in the region that ISIS moved to fill quickly Ibid; Henceforward, in this case we see how the neoliberal and maximalist efforts pursued by the US in the region not only did they not produce but they also gravely destabilized the Levant and the Middle East. Paris ; argued that any form of peacebuilding is inherently to some extent liberal, thus, the challenge does not lie in finding an alternative approach to liberal peacebuilding but in the reform of existing approaches.
This may be true, however, US failures in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a great sense of disillusionment with liberal peacebuilding. This feeling must be prevalent among US foreign policy makers as the Libyan intervention in Nonetheless, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan the US did not commit any troops to bring about a liberal peace. The reluctance of the US to employ the rhetoric of liberal emancipation also makes its appearance in the case of Syria where apart from arming anti-Assad groups and occasional airstrikes it has undertaken no meaningful action with the aim of the removal of the Assad regime.
The US seem reluctant to employ their force in support of liberal peace. Although international institutions and transnational civil society remain at least nominally committed to liberal peacebuilding models, support for liberal peacebuilding among Western states is low Lewis et al. The strategic quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their toll giving rise to an alternative and authoritarian mode of conflict management. Authoritarian Conflict Management ACM , seeks to illustrate the practices of strong authoritarian states in the international system in their internal conflicts.
Many emerging and authoritarian powers like Russia, China, Turkey and Sri Lanka facing rebellions are unwilling to abide by the norm of internationalizing their internal conflicts or constraining their sovereignty and use of force Lewis et al. ACM is becoming more and more widespread within the international system. Internationally negotiated settlements, the norm of civil war termination during the s have been in decline since the s Ibid; 2.
The rise of authoritarian powers, like Russia and China in the global scene meant that by the s the norms of peace and conflict became increasingly contested Alisson ; Ibid;2. Both Russia and China have employed a hardline approach in their responses to the internal conflicts they faced in Chechnya and Xinjiang respectively Richmond and Tellidis ; These responses are in turn influencing the way these actors approach conflict management, which is characterised by the contestation of liberal norms and practices in the international system Acharya, ; Cooley, ; Wolff and Zimmermann, Nonetheless, in comparison to Afghanistan and Iraq they succeeded in stopping widespread violence.
It relies on the hierarchical nature of the state apparatus to with a focus on coercion Ibid; The Chechenisation policy of the Russian state has involved the heavy control of the public discourse, the increased state funding in the region and the promotion of a state-sponsored version of Islam Matejova So far it seems to be working. This essay was not an attempt to contest the success and the merits of established democracies as a form of polity. Instead, the aim of this essay was to contest the idea that democracy and democratization constitute the surest path to peace.
Instead, this essay argued that this idea rose to prominence due to the liberal victory at the end of the Cold War without any substantial empirical backing or a tested democratization and peacebuilding model. The triumphalism that followed the fall of Communism validated in the eyes of scholars and policymakers alike the claims of the DPT. Liberal peacebuilding democratization and the general notion of liberal peace stemmed from the claims of the DPT. Democratization became a panacea but as the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan have showed the concept of liberal peacebuilding is highly problematic.
Moreover, the primacy of economic liberalization, which in many cases precedes democratic reforms is endangering the very democratic element of the peacebuilding process Paris Simultaneously, the discourse of liberal peacebuilding is implicitly imperialist and racist due to its Kantian routes. The dichotomization of the liberal discourse into an ideal-other and an enemy-other is also highly problematic because it leads to the discursive creation of an Orientalizing narrative that posits the West as the ideal model upon which nondemocratic states should be transformed.
Nonetheless, the empirical shortcoming of democratization and liberal peacebuilding along with the reluctance of the US to engage in a promotion of liberal norms in the way they did in the s has given space for the emergence of an alternative authoritarian peacebuilding model.
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The rise of authoritarian states like Russia and China has also given rise to an alternative conflict management model that offers a credible challenge to the liberal peacebuilding model. Although it offers primarily a negative peace it is currently more successful than many democratic conflict management procedures that have been unable to deliver any form of peace. It is therefore, safe to say that the dominant idea that democratization is not the only game in town anymore.
Acharya A Norm subsidiarity and regional orders: Sovereignty, regionalism, and rulemaking in the Third World. International Studies Quarterly 55 1 : 95— Barkawi, T. Connection and constitution: locating war and culture in globalization studies. Globalizations , 1 2 , pp. Bertram, E. Reinventing Governments. Journal of Conflict Resolution , 39 3 , pp. Boutros-Ghali, B.
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Agenda for Peace. Bush, G. Norway handles all this reasonably well, but even there we have someone like a Breivik: obviously intelligent, focused and, in a certain dark way, gifted. The inescapable reality is that the very forces creating our affluent, modern, and democratic world also generate violent antagonism. When conditions are right, the lone psychopath becomes a cult leader; in a perfect storm when everything breaks his way, the psychopath becomes Fuehrer.
The same technological progress that helps create violent alienation and rage also empowers individuals and groups. Modern society is more vulnerable than ever before to acts of terror, and developments in weaponry place ever greater power in the hands of ever smaller numbers of people. This is still in early stages. Fortunately, Breivik was a traditionalist and relatively low-tech mass murderer; he did not hack vital computer systems to wreak murderous havoc with a rail or air traffic control system. He did not poison the reservoirs with weaponized biologicals. He did not even pump poison gas into a subway system.
We can be reasonably confident that an increasingly chaotic and stressful 21st century will generate more bitter nutjobs and place more destructive power in their hands. To say all this is not to buy into the case for gloom. Armageddon is no more inevitable in the next century than utopia, at least as far as human beings can discern. The extraordinary scientific and technological flowering of the last few hundred years could lead us to either destination, to neither, or to some kind of intermediate zone marked by elements of both. The last possibility has my vote as the most likely, but nobody can really know.
The only conclusion that makes sense to me is that human beings are stuck in a condition of radical uncertainty. Something big and earth shaking is going on around us, but the information we have does not allow us to predict where it all goes. In my view, this is one of the reasons that belief in a transcendent power beyond the human mind is intellectually necessary to grapple successfully with the realities of our time.
When the determinist progressives threw God under the bus, they threw away the possibility of an integrated world view that has room both for scientific and rational analysis on the one hand and a honest, unsparing appraisal of the radical uncertainty around us on the other. We still live in the Age of Apocalypse that opened in World War Two when Hiroshima and the Holocaust delineated the essential problems of the new and possibly last era of human civilization.
Mankind has long had the potential for radical, desolating evil; today we still have that potential among us, and we have united it to the power to end all life on earth. We live with one foot in the shadows and another on the high and sunny uplands of democratic and affluent society. We have one foot in Norway and the other in Hell and nobody knows where we step next.
One of the reasons to bother God in our century is the hope that in turn he will bother about us. Whatever is coming, we will face it more honestly and live it more richly with him. This post originally appeared at The American Interest. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Beetham, David. Democratization Beitz, Charles R. The Idea of Human Rights.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bellamy, Alex J. Journal of Peace Research Benhabib, Seyla. The Right of Others.
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Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. American Political Science Review Bernstein, Alyssa R. A Human Right to Democracy?