Trek carefully, Instability is a hallmark after dictatorship

Monday, June 05, 2017

Excerpt from research reports:

Forcefully removing autocrats from power rarely results in stable democracy. Overthrowing dictators usually leads to political vacuums, civil wars, humanitarian crises, new dictators and failed states. More wars, genocides, repression and state failures occur during quasi-democratic transitional periods, when autocrats are weakened but no alternative political system has become institutionalized.

The potential for post-authoritarian chaos is especially high in developing countries with ethnic divisions, no legacy of democracy, absolutist rulers and dangerous regional neighborhoods. Western powers cannot expect peaceful democratic transitions like those in post-communist countries of Eastern Europe or military transfers of power in South America.

Leaders should devise less reactive policies for potentially violent, destabilizing breakdowns of autocracies. More choices are available than supporting military action against dictators, costing many lives, or hoping that a Twitter revolution will usher in democracy.

We can learn lessons from peaceful transitions in places such as Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, Tunisia, Indonesia and (so far) Burma.

“Leaders should devise less reactive policies for potentially violent, destabilizing breakdowns of autocracies.”