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International Linkage and Democratization

From: Journal of Democracy
Volume 16, Number 3, July 2005
pp. 20-34 | 10.1353/jod.2005.0048


This article presents a new framework for understanding the role of international factors in post-Cold War regime change.We treat the post­Cold War international environment as operating along two dimensions: western leverage, or governments' vulnerability to external pressure, and linkage to the West, or the density of a country's ties to the U.S., the European Union, and Western-led multilateral institutions. Both leverage and linkage raised the cost of authoritarianism during the post­Cold War period. However, mechanisms of leverage such as diplomatic pressure, or conditionality were--by themselves--rarely sufficient to democratize post­Cold War autocracies. Rather, the more subtle and diffuse effects of linkage contributed more consistently to democratization. The impact of linkage and leverage are examined in the context of post­Cold War hybrid or competitive authoritarian regimes.