The Obama administration must disassociate the United States from the damaging elements of the Bush legacy on democracy promotion without embracing an overly pessimistic view of democratic decline.
The perception that the Bush administration pushed democracy too hard and a sobering global political landscape create pressure to pull back on democracy promotion. But it is crucial that the new administration not overreact to these pressures and step back too far just at the moment when President Obama's election, which showcased American democracy at its most appealing, has captured the global imagination.
Carnegie's Thomas Carothers discussed the challenges ahead for democracy promotion with Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch and Robert Kagan. With a new framework for democracy promotion that builds on President Obama's bipartisan instincts and measured tone and acknowledges that democratic expansion is fundamentally in the U.S. interest, the new administration can return U.S. democracy promotion to a respected and productive footing- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Thomas Carothers is the vice president for studies-international politics and governance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In this capacity, he oversees the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, which he founded, and the Middle East Program.
Carothers is a leading authority on democracy promotion and democratization worldwide, as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy generally. He is the founder and director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, which analyzes the state of democracy in the world and the efforts by the United States and other countries to promote democracy.
In addition, he has broad experience in matters dealing with human rights, international law, foreign aid, rule of law, and civil society development.
Robert Kagan is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. He served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.
Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch and an expert in United States foreign policy, is responsible for the organization's overall advocacy efforts with the US government.
He frequently appears as a radio, television, and op-ed commentator on US human rights policy. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Malinowski was special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior director for foreign policy speechwriting at the National Security Council. Before working in the White House, he was a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Christopher and Albright and a member of the State Department's policy planning staff.
Malinowski holds degrees in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and Oxford University.
Jessica Tuchman Mathews was appointed president of the Endowment in 1997. Her career includes posts in the executive and legislative branches of government, in management and research in the nonprofit arena, and in journalism.
She was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1993 to 1997 and served as director of the Council's Washington program. While there, she published her seminal 1997 Foreign Affairs article, "Power Shift," chosen by the editors as one of the most influential in the journal's seventy-five years.
From 1982 to 1993, she was founding vice president and director of research of the World Resources Institute, an internationally known center for policy research on environmental and natural-resource management issues.
She served on the editorial board of the Washington Post from 1980 to 1982, covering energy, environment, science, technology, arms control, health, and other issues. Later, she became a weekly columnist for the Washington Post, writing a column that appeared nationwide and in the International Herald Tribune.
From 1977 to 1979, she was director of the Office of Global Issues of the National Security Council, covering nuclear proliferation, conventional arms sales policy, chemical and biological warfare, and human rights. In 1993, she returned to government as deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs.
Mathews is a director of Somalogic Inc. and a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Century Foundation, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, and the Trilateral Commission.
She has previously served on the boards of the Brookings Institution, Radcliffe College, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Surface Transportation Policy Project, and the Joyce Foundation, among others.