Fallacies of Democratic State-Building

Trantidis, Aris (2022) Fallacies of Democratic State-Building. International Studies Review, 24 (4). ISSN 1521-9488

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/isr/viac053

Fallacies of Democratic State-Building
Fallacies of Democratic State-Building
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This paper criticizes the epistemic foundations of democratic state-building, which are derived from a model of political transitions according to which liberal democratic institutions will transform a hitherto authoritarian and troubled country into a more prosperous and stable society and, therefore, foreign interventions to establish these institutions are realistic and worthy investments, provided they are properly planned based on knowledge of what has worked elsewhere. This expectation is based upon two epistemological premises. The first premise, linearity, is that social and institutional change exhibits identifiable input–output relations connecting socioeconomic conditions and outcomes. The second premise, ergodicity, is that these relations, inferred from past samples, provide reliable probabilistic projections about future outcomes, which can guide the focus of policy interventions. Drawing from the study of complex systems, the paper indicates why these two premises offer a flawed conception of political transitions and why radical and large-scale interventions, such as state-building, will tend to generate unintended consequences rather than the planned effect.

Keywords:democracy promotion, state-building, foreign policy, liberal interventionism, grand strategy, liberal internationalism
Subjects:L Social studies > L252 War & Peace studies
L Social studies > L250 International Relations
L Social studies > L222 Democracy
L Social studies > L240 International Politics
L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L251 Strategic studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:52219
Deposited On:02 Nov 2022 14:12

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