Michael Mandelbaum, the Christian A. Herter Professor
of American Foreign Policy and director
of the American Foreign Policy Program at SAIS, has recently
published Democracy's Good Name: The
Rise and Risks of the World's Most Popular Form of
Government (PublicAffairs, New York).
New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman
wrote on Sept. 9 that Democracy's Good Name is
"a timely new book É highly relevant to America's democracy
project in Iraq and beyond."
Mandelbaum's latest book addresses the rapid spread,
in the last quarter of the 20th century,
of democracy around the world, one of the most remarkable
and significant developments in modern
history. In 1900, only 10 countries could be counted as
democracies. By 1975, there were 30. Today,
119 of the world's 190 countries have adopted democracy,
and it is by far the most celebrated and
prestigious form of government.
How did democracy acquire its good name? Why did it
spread so far so fast? Why do important
countries remain undemocratic? What accounts for the fact
that the introduction of one of
democracy's defining features — free elections
— has sometimes led to political repression and
scale bloodshed? And why do efforts to export democracy so
often fail and even make conditions
worse? What does this mean for Iraq, China and Russia? In
Democracy's Good Name, Mandelbaum
answers these questions.
The book traces the political traditions that gave
rise to modern democracy in the 18th and
19th centuries and explores the reasons for its
extraordinary surge in the 20th. Mandelbaum
discusses the relationship between democracy on the one
hand, and war and terrorism on the other,
and assesses the prospects for the establishment of
democracy in Russia, China and the Arab world.
He also explains why the United States has found it so
difficult to foster democratic governments in
One of America's leading foreign policy thinkers,
Mandelbaum is the author of 10 previous
books, including The Ideas that Conquered the World
and The Case for Goliath.