Given significant recent challenges to democracy promotion, substantial questions have arisen as to whether meaningful democratic reform is a realistic possibility in many parts of the world and whether democracy promotion is an appropriate anchor for American foreign policy.
Can and should the core American belief in inalienable human rights be the primary basis for effective diplomacy and foreign policy?
Should U.S. foreign policy seek to be consistent with President-Elect Obama's election night speech that "the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope"?
Or has a backlash against an American foreign policy focused on democracy promotion permanently hindered democracy promotion efforts around the world?- Hudson Institute
Zeyno Baran is a prominent Turkish American scholar on issues ranging from US-Turkey relations to Islamist ideology to energy security in Europe and Asia.
She is the Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy and a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, a think tank located in Washington D.C.. From January 2003 until joining the Hudson Institute in April 2006, she worked as the Director of International Security and Energy Programs for the The Nixon Center.
Baran also worked as the Director of the Caucasus Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 1999 until December 2002.
Carl Gershman was appointed President of the National Endowment for Democracy by the Endowment's Board of Directors and assumed his position on April 30, 1984.
In that capacity he has presided over the development of the Endowment's grants program in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Latin America. Under his leadership, the NED created the quarterly Journal of Democracy in 1990 and launched the International Forum for Democratic Studies in 1994.
Mr. Gershman is currently encouraging other democracies to establish their own foundations devoted to the promotion of democratic institutions in the world.
Michael A. McFaul is Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and associate professor of political science at Stanford University.
Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1995, he worked for two years as a senior associate in residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center. McFaul is also research associate at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, both at Stanford, and senior advisor to the National Democratic Institute.
He serves on the board of directors of the Eurasia Foundation, Firebird Fund, International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy, Institute of Social and Political Studies, Center for Civil Society International, and Institute for Corporate Governance and Law; the steering committee for the Europe and Eurasia division of Human Rights Watch, and the editorial boards of Current History, Journal of Democracy, Demokratizatsiya, and Perspectives on European Politics and Society.
He has served as a consultant for numerous companies and government agencies.
Jack L. Snyder is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations in the political science department and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.
His books include Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War (MIT Press, 2005), co-authored with Edward D. Mansfield; From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict (Norton Books, 2000); Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition.
He has also written The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914 (Cornell 1984) and Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention, co-editor with Barbara Walter (Columbia University Press, 1999).
His articles on such topics as democratization and war ("Prone to Violence: The Paradox of the Democratic Peace," The National Interest, winter 2005/2006), imperial overstretch, war crimes tribunals versus amnesties as strategies for preventing atrocities, international relations theory after September 11, and anarchy and culture have appeared in The American Political Science Review, Daedalus, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, International Security, The Journal of Democracy, and World Politics.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Snyder received a B.A. in government from Harvard University in 1973, the Certificate of Columbia's Russian Institute in 1978, and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia in 1981.
George Stephanopoulos is the Chief Washington Correspondent for ABC News and anchor of ABC's Sunday morning program, "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
As Chief Washington Correspondent, Stephanopoulos oversees the network's coverage of Congress and reports on political and policy stories for all ABC News platforms, including "World News Tonight," "Nightline," "Good Morning America" and ABC News' digital properties, including ABC News Now and ABCNews.com.
Shibley Telhami, a nonresident senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, is a former advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Iraq Study Group.
He is an expert on U.S. policy in the Middle East, particularly on the role of the news media in shaping political identity and public opinion in the region.
Leon Wieseltier is literary editor of The New Republic, a post he's held since 1983. He is the author of Kaddish, among other books. His essays on political, literary, and religious subjects have appeared in many publications. He was educated at Columbia College, Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard University, where he was a member of the Society of Fellows. His small acting career has included a part on "The Sopranos."
Richard Williamson has become the Special Envoy to Sudan as of January 7, 2008.
Mr. Williamson is also a practicing partner in the law office of Winston and Strawn. Earlier in the Bush Administration, Williamson, who has broad foreign policy and negotiating experience, served as Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs and as Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
Previously, he served in senior foreign policy positions under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, including as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations at the Department of State, and an Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House. He also has served as Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.
Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, argues that although building a "democracy is not easy," it is possible to have a "coherent approach" to address US security issues without democracy promotion and nation building.<