Encouraging democratic transitions: the problematic impact of United States' involvement
Lasher, David Brian
Bruneau, Thomas C.
Tollefson, Scott D.
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine what role, if any, the United States can play in encouraging democratic transitions. It is a comparison of some of the different approaches the United States used in its relations with three countries in which it had varying amounts of influence: Chile (some influence), Brazil (relatively little influence), and El Salvador (relatively major influence). The two most fundamental questions it asks are: what would be the best policy for the United States to follow should it decide to encourage a democratic transition in any given country? And assuming a coherent approach, how much of an impact are United States' efforts likely to have? In reference to the first questions, this study finds that a bipartisan foreign policy, prudently using the various instruments at its disposal, is the best course for the United States to follow. As for the second questions, the United States can have an impact on democratic transitions, but that impact is likely to be quite limited in comparison to the influence of other factors (historical, cultural, social, economic, and political) within that country. As such, increase involvement does not necessarily increase the ability of the United States to encourage a democratic transition. It is, in effect, a problematic impact.
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