Developmental research on attributional processes has highlighted some of the basic principles of causation. The first fundamental principle of cause-effect relations is that causes precede effects. To the list of basic principles of causation elaborated by Kassin and Pryor (1986) one might add the following:
(1) Causes resemble effects: for example, people generally assume that big effects are produced by big causes, and that little effects are produced by little causes. (2) Representative causes are attributed to effects: in trying to find an explanation for a situation, people may look at similar outcomes and infer that the cause of the current outcome is similar to the causes for the previous related outcomes.
Thus, for example, a patient unfamiliar with the causes of cancer may attribute a malignant lump to a blow, since other kinds of lumps are caused by blows. In that sense, they were response or outcome-oriented, rather than process oriented.
Humans depend upon causation all the time to explain what has happened to them to make realistic predictions about what will happen, and to affect what happens in the future. Not surprisingly, we are inveterate searchers after causes. Almost no one goes through a day without uttering sentences of the form X caused Y or Y occurred because of X.
Knowing more about causality can be useful. Causal statements explain events, allow predictions about the future, and make it possible to take actions to effect the future.
The cause for democratization is often a regime crisis. Such crises can be external in origin for example wars and occupations, or radical changes in trade patterns or arise from domestic sources (e,g. the inability of governments to deliver goods and services to the populace, the death of an authoritarian ruler, the rise of local opposition the the government).
Models of the interactions between ruling elites and citizens that may lead to democratization can be divided into two categories depending on their basic assumptions. Most of the scholarship, in political science, views either structural preconditions or elite agency as the critical factor behind the success of democratization. They define political culture, in turn, as a set of beliefs and dispositions toward certain political objects and the role that these beliefs and attitudes play in sustaining democratic practices.
It is well to recall that the huge variation we see in the world today in both economic and political outcomes is the result of long-run historical processes. Though some countries do change their development path, for example Japan after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Turkey after the First World War, Russia after the 1917 Revolution and again after 1989, the preponderance of evidence suggest that once a society gets onto a particular path it stays on it. Within these different institutional and political paths lie some of the most important questions in political science and economics.
When Europe entered the Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, grip of religion loosened. The Arab states that emerged after World War I have always struggled with their heterogeneous populations, uncertain national identities, and deep internal fissures. They have existed for almost a century, and vested interests have developed around the preservation of their national borders and institutions. Ethnic, sectarian, and tribal divisions still linger, as conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Yemen so clearly demonstrate.
The region that the twenty-first century has come to the fore in the thinking of democracy promotion´s supporters is the Middle East. This is both because liberal democracy has made least progress there and because political reform in countries like Egypt, Syria, and Iran is now seen to be vital to Western security interest And its strategy for promoting democracy there.
Egypt is often cited as an example in societies that lack well organized political parties for channelling political mobilization in a manner compatible with orderly democratic rule, authoritatrian breakdown may not proceed smoothly to the installation of democracy. Instead, there is turmoil, creating opportunities for illiberal groups (uncivil society) to take charge, as happened in Iraq.
- Structural preconditions or elite agency.
Structural explanations highlight the broader context in which regime transition takes place, a processes that requires an explanation of how one gets from S to R and these particular preconditions that increase the demands for participation and for accuntability that lead authoritarian regimes to democratize. They arise slowly, over decades and generations, specifically the institutional constraints on the process of democratization.
The formal political institutions that follow crises reflect both the preferences and the power bases of these bargaining elites and citizens. Where structuralist accounts broad societal preconditions such as economic development and specific institutions that shape governance and the relationship between state and society, agency-based accounts see unpredictable and contingent events that cascade into regime collapses.
It may truly be the case that policy is its own cause both directly as well as indirectly. A policy might successfully change the social world in precisely the way intended, and then those changes might themselves either prevent or enable certain further policy developments, along similar lines. Every attempt to fix one problem creates several more.
Structuralist approaches are good at accounting for the general causes of regime breakdown and consolidation of new democracies.
Both structure and agency-based accounts tend to assume that structure constrains elites. For agency-based accounts, therefore, the catalyst for democratization is often a regime crisis. It is only in moments of crisis that elites can act more freely.
The most recent wave of democratization, which followed the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and its east European satellites, shows that these two perspectives have much to contribute to each other. First, several structural preconditions inherited from the authoritarian regimes act to foster democratization, rather than constrain it. Moreover, elite agency matters long after the initial bargaining and well into the subsequent consolidation period.
Activities and processes linking causes and effects require mechanism approach. Robert E. Goodin (2008) The Oxfrord Handbook of Political Science, take theoretically based classification that might help explain differences in democratization processes and policy decisions that have different aspects of democratic consolidation. Regimes in which power has been personalized under military or one individual, however are more likely to be replaced by a new dictatorship than by a democracy.
Transition from personalized dictatorship are less likely to result in democracy, but sometimes they do. For these reasons, the process of transition from personalized dictatorship should not be modeled as an elite-led bargain (see Hadnius and Teorell 2005).
Post-Second World War democratizations have occurred in several quite different ways, but nearly all have involved a transition to immediate universal suffrage democracy. Various international influences on democratization have arguably had greater effects since the Second World War and perhaps greater still since the 1980s.
Since 1990, Levitsky and Way (2006) show that those authoritarian regimes with the closest linkages to the USA and Western Europe are the most likely to have democratic looking institutions such as multiparty elections in which some real competition is allowed. Such regimes may be easier to dislodge since opposition is usually less risky and costly in them.
Stronger democratic institutions are crucial, in one area after another, there are literature devoted to assessing the impact, or effectiveness, of international institutions and how modernization caused democracy. Support that can take the form of technical material, and financial assistance to pro-democracy initiatives.
Assistance includes what Carothers, T (2004) calls “institutional modelling” attempts to transfer blueprints of democratic practice, procedure, and organizations that resemble working models already familiar in the established democracies. More broadly, the focus on formal democratic institutions tends to conflate formal institutions, in particular elections and electoral institutions, with a transition to democracy.
Elections are viewed as both the initiation of the democratization process and the hallmark of successful democratization. Both structure and agency-based accounts of democratization have tended to focus on the formal institutions of representation and accountability. Given that without elections and contestation, we cannot speak of democratization, this is not an unreasonable emphasis.
However, it overlooks the other institutional aspects of successful democratization. Specifically, the role of the state and informal institutions. With few exceptions, market reforms and institutions of the state, such as centralized bureaucracies and the networks of security, redistribution, and market regulation has long been ignored in the study of democratization. The emphasis has been on the pluralization of politics, economics, and civil society rather than on the institutions of the state.
Yet, the post-Communist experience demonstrates that the type and extent of state structures found in the countries undergoing transition profoundly influence democratization. A clear division between state and society generates powerful incentives both for elites to appeal to outside constituencies, and for these constituencies to hold elite despoliation in check.
I should add the list what U.S. President Obama said recently – “For democracy is more than just elections. True democracy, real prosperity, lasting security — these are neither simply given, nor imposed from the outside. They must be earned and built from within. And in that age-old contest of ideas — between freedom and authoritarianism, between liberty and oppression, between solidarity and intolerance” – President Obama, with an eye on Putin and crisis in Ukraine, wanted to demonstrate that NATO’s Article 5 is for real. There are some significant changes in Europe’s own neighbourhood.
The end of the Cod War has also changed the process of democratization. In his first interview as President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko tells TIME that he has no choice but to keep Russia at the negotiating table, as no country is prepared to guarantee his nation’s security from further attack.
So we can’t talk about a firm sense of security without a dialogue and an understanding with Russia.” That is why Poroshenko spent the first full day of his tenure on Sunday in marathon talks with the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov.
Their positions remain miles apart, at best leaving Poroshenko room for “cautious optimism” for restoring civil relations with Russia. Poroshenko wants Russia to offer a new “model of behavior, a model of guarantees” that would restore a sense of stability. So far, he doesn’t have anything close.
In contrast, small European states that have thrown off their former Communist regimes and built firm and lasting foundations for the new democracy should, in the interest of a stable and secure Europe and if they so wish, be admitted to the defensive alliance of democratic principles that is the North Atlantic Alliance and, unlike Russia, thus become an integral and equally responsible part of the organization.
These are countries that have based their existence as states on the principle of civic freedoms, from which in turn are derived the other freedoms, including the right and capacity to sustain and develop their own national cultural identity.
For his part Poroshenko in the interests of the country which he heads as President, he says “We’re talking about assistance that will be able to stop this aggression” from Russia, he said in his discussions last week and this weekend with U.S. and European leaders. Military action against Ukraine by forces of the Russian Federation is a breach of international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace.
NATO Secretary General is very concerned about reports of escalation of the crisis in Eastern Ukraine.Reports that pro-Russian armed gangs are acquiring heavy weapons from Russia, including Russian tanks. NATO has a long-standing partnership with Ukraine. NATO stands ready to support democratic development, defence reforms, military cooperation and democratic control over the security sector,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) on 27 February 2014.
- NATO SG continue to urge Russia to complete the withdrawal of its military forces on the border with Ukraine and call on the Russian Federation to meet its Geneva commitments and cooperate with the government of Ukraine as it implements its plans for promoting peace, unity and reform.
- The European Union continues to support Ukraine in the process of reform to deliver a stable, prosperous and democratic future for its citizens. The European Union will be at Ukraine’s side and remains ready to work with those that share these objectives of democracy, prosperity and stability.
- Inclusive and comprehensive dialogue will no doubt be an important part in leading forward this process of transformation. A united and decentralised country where all will find their place and different identities and minorities will be acknowledged and respected.
Poroshenko’s assumption of the presidency represents is a crossroads moment for this country of 45 million. Six months of upheaval have ratcheted up tensions between Russia and the West to Cold War heights, and Poroshenko’s inauguration offers a glimmer of hope to those seeking to avoid a full-blown civil war.