Western and non-Western external democracy support is more similar than many think. Coordination is becoming more vital as the global order evolves and as democracy faces headwinds worldwide, according to a leading expert.
It is important to recognize more fully how democracy dynamics are shifting, notes Carnegie analyst Richard Youngs. For one thing, many Western observers have largely ignored non-Western contributions to global democracy, he writes:
Additionally, domestic strains within both Western and non-Western democracies may now start to draw commitments away from globally directed democracy support, while multilateral coordination on the democracy-related elements of the global order remain relatively weak as a counterbalance to such trends. When analysts plot the future international system, most of their concern gravitates toward the ascendant power of nondemocratic regimes.
“But just as significant are the ways that domestic backsliding in many democracies may negate Western and non-Western efforts to maintain the political norms of the liberal order,” Youngs adds. “This serious predicament calls for a narrative that differs from the standard assumption that Western states are pushing for a democratic order while other powers merely seek to undermine them.”