Recently, regime change and the stability of the new regime has grown to be one of the most interesting and heavily debated topics in the news. The most significant part of the debate is whether the new regimes will be democratic, and if they will be able to firmly grasp hold of the country’s power in a positive way. I personally agree with Levitsky’s and Way’s definition of a four pronged test for democracy, “free, fair, and competitive elections; full adult suffrage; broad protection of civil liberties…; the absence of non-elected “tutelary” authorities” (6). Based off this definition of democracy, I do not believe that a regime change always ends in democracy because there is a large amount of qualifiers involved in declaring something a full democratic state.
While the recent regime changes involve more democratic elements in their government because of new revolutions involving social media and other innovative methods, they do not fully envelope all the necessary attributes to be known as a democracy in the world.. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the countries with a “strong tie to the west” were able to find stability in democracy. The United States, and other countries with stable and old democratic systems, agreed to withhold economic aid to countries who did not have democratic elections. These two points are tied together because the aid from the of the cause and effect solution they contain.
While these reasons are in theory good, the incentive of money only causes leaders and revolutions to go so far. Because the United States definition of democracy only considers free and fair elections, part one of Way’s test, countries only go as far as to meet standards of the countries who give out money. While the incentives are good they also have a negative side effect; countries end up having unleveled playing fields, repression of civil liberties, and massive governmental fraud or corruption. The article in freedom house discusses the actual decline in a number of freedom categories when the new regime takes over. Egypt and Tunisia, the first in the Arab Spring to oust their president highlighted great difficulty in keeping a democracy that encompasses all of Way’s definition. Freedom house asserts, “rebuilding basic institutions like the justice system, law enforcement agencies, and regulatory frameworks for the media and civil society, all of which have been warped and corrupted by decades of authoritarian rule, will require many years of effort.” These acts all follow the booting of president but are actually much harder to sustain.
In summary, while it may be easier now because of social media to remove a regime it is very difficult to fully move it to a full democracy because of the history of oppression of civil liberties, ignorance of governmental corruption, and most importantly domestic instability.