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Global Trends in Democracy: Background, U.S. Policy, and Issues for Congress

CRS Report via LC repository: Global Trends in Democracy: Background, U.S. Policy, and Issues for Congress. Michael A. Weber, Analyst in Foreign Affairs. Updated October 17, 2018.

“Widespread concerns exist among analysts and policymakers over the current trajectory of democracy around the world. Congress has often played an important role in supporting and institutionalizing U.S. democracy promotion, and current developments may have implications for U.S. policy, which for decades has broadly reflected the view that the spread of democracy around the world is favorable to U.S. interests. The aggregate level of democracy around the world has not advanced for more than a decade. Analysis of data trend – lines from two major global democracy indexes indicates that, as of 2017, the level of democracy around the world has not advanced since around the year 2005 or 2006. Although the degree of democratic backsliding around the world has arguably been modest overall to this point, some elements of democracy, particularly those associated with liberal democracy, have receded during this period. Declines in democracy that have occurred may have disproportionately affected countries with larger population sizes. Overall, this data indicates that democracy’s expansion has been more challenged during this period than during any similar period dating back to the 1970s. Despite this, democratic declines to this point have been considerably less severe than the more pronounced setbacks t hat occurred during some earlier periods in the 20th century…”
  • Related – see also this Washington Post Op-Ed by “center right columnist” Jennifer Rubin: – An election that goes way beyond policy issues “…The corruption eating away at the presidency is not merely financial, of course. Conservative Trump critic and former adviser to President George W. Bush, Peter Wehner, in recent days eloquently addressed the moral dimension of the Saudi situation [the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi] “I think the fundamental interpretative fact of the Trump presidency – and I think that this Saudi example is only one manifestation of it – is this is a person [Trump] who is fundamentally amoral and immoral,” he said during an MSNBC appearance. “He is a man without human empathy or without human sympathy, and in many respects a man without conscience; and I think what you’ve seen over the last several days is a person who’s reacting that way.” Wehner continued, “And I think that we’ve seen that lack of human empathy and conscience in almost every arena of the Trump presidency. It explains the cruelty, it explains the policy at the border, separating kids from [parents], it explains the pathological lies, it explains the fact that he’s a man without loyalty — and I think this is just the latest arena in which we’re seeing this ugly drama play itself out.”…


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