The Journal of Democracy writes that "Democracy has held its own or gained ground in just about every part of the world except for the Arab Middle East. Why has this crucial region remained such infertile soil for democracy?"
Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University and director of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is the author of The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World (2008) and is founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy. He begins his thought-provoking article as follows:
"During democratization’s “third wave,” democracy ceased being a mostly Western phenomenon and “went global.” When the third wave began in 1974, the world had only about 40 democracies, and only a few of them lay outside the West. By the time the Journal of Democracy began publishing in 1990, there were 76 electoral democracies (accounting for slightly less than half the world’s independent states). By 1995, that number had shot up to 117—three in every five states. By then, a critical mass of democracies existed in every major world region save one—the Middle East. Moreover, every one of the world’s major cultural realms had become host to a significant democratic presence, albeit again with a single exception—the Arab world. Fifteen years later, this exception still stands.Read the article here.
The continuing absence of even a single democratic regime in the Arab world is a striking anomaly—the principal exception to the globalization of democracy. Why is there no Arab democracy?"