(Science Codex) EAST LANSING, Mich. — From Ethiopia to Nicaragua, countries that go through civil war are much less likely to become democratic if the winning side gets help from rival nations, a Michigan State University political scientist argues.
In a new study examining democratization after civil wars since World War II, Michael Colaresi found the majority of groups that eventually took power failed to establish democratic governments if those groups took money or weapons from a foreign enemy during the war.
Receiving such aid can create mistrust among the nation’s citizens and make it more difficult for the new regime to institute a democracy, which requires public consent for effective governance, said Colaresi, professor of political science.
“Leaders want to stay in power,” Colaresi said. “If they try to build democratic institutions, they would then need public support and trust to continue to govern, which is no easy task if you have received support from enemies the public does not trust.”
The study, published in the Journal of Peace Research, is the first to show which events within a civil war can help to systematically forecast where post-conflict democratization is likely or unlikely to occur. Past research looked at factors such as the destructiveness of the war and whether the rebel group won, but failed to make a connection to future democracies.Read more on Science Codex …