Creating a democracy is no easy task. It requires a lot of internal and external factors that could either make or break a successful transition from a non-democratic regime to a democratic one. This essay explains the three major threats to democratic consolidation (international relations, elite commitment, and the role of the military) that countries undergoing transitions from a non-democratic regime to a democratic one might face. This essay will also explain on the argument on why international relations is considered the greatest threat to democratic consolidation.
International relations represents one of the three major threats to democratic ...view middle of the document...
2 Elite commitment is necessary to show that democratization is not a threat to the lives and interests of the old elite.1 According to O'Neil, if the old elite see democratization as a threat to their lives and/or economic interests, they will be less inclined to support any democratization movement. Because of this, O'Neil also points out that elite commitment could be a disadvantage for democratic consolidation in countries rich with natural resources.3 This is why despite peaceful protests and negotiations, the old elite in countries with rich natural resources like Zimbabwe (rich with diamonds)4 and Bahrain (rich with oil and natural gas)5 have difficulty supporting any democratization movement.
The Role of the Military
The role of the military represents another important factor in democratic consolidation for transitional democracies. According to Pinnell, it is important for the military to not get involved in political disputes and squabbles and having the military institutions itself to be integrated to the new regime with civilians in charge in running it—hence the principle of civilian control of the military.1 Pinnell also points out that if the military itself is not integrated with the new regime and the officers who are running the institutions see itself as separate from the new elite, it would cause conflict between the military and the new elite that could end up crushing away any chances of democratization.1
Why international relations is the greatest threat to democratization?
In terms of elite commitment and role of the military, these two threats can be controlled during democratization if there is a political will by the old elite and/or military to have an common understanding with the new elite to step aside from politics/reduce their political power and allow democratic consolidation to occur. However, in terms of international relations, it is difficult for new democratic elites to alleviate/control the threat of international relations unless they risk losing its popular support base that fought for democratization if they are seen by its own people not as democratic heroes but as puppets for foreign interests. It is also difficult to balance both between protecting the interests of a neighboring/powerful state vs. bringing democratization and reform to the populace, because the interests of a neighboring/powerful state may go against bringing democratization and reform to the...