Explores democracy’s remarkable rise from obscurity to centre stage in contemporary international relations
Little over 200 years ago, a quarter of a century of warfare with an ‘outlaw state’ brought the great powers of Europe to their knees. That state was the revolutionary democracy of France. In the intervening period, there has been a remarkable transformation in the way democracy is understood and valued – today, it is the non-democratic states that are seen as rogue regimes.
Christopher Hobson looks at the historical contrast between the strongly negative perceptions of democracy in the 18th century and the very high degree of acceptance and legitimacy in contemporary international politics. Building on this, Hobson looks at the role of democracy in international relations: in the past, its present role and the likely future challenges.