The iron cage of liberalism : international politics and unarmed revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa
Title: The iron cage of liberalism : international politics and unarmed revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa
Author: RITTER, Daniel P.
Citation: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2014
Revolutions no longer stand to be recognized. In contrast to the processes of political and social change spearheaded—and romanticized—by revolutionaries like Lenin and Mao, contemporary revolutions no longer require violent struggle in order to secure victory over authoritarian states. In this book, Daniel Ritter seeks to understand unarmed revolutions by posing two interrelated questions: Why do nonviolent revolutionary movements in some countries manage to topple autocratic leaders while similar movements elsewhere are brutally crushed, and why has the world witnessed a proliferation of unarmed revolution in the last forty years? Through a comparative historical analysis of the Iranian, Tunisian, and Egyptian revolutions, the author shows that close and friendly international relations between democratic states in the West and authoritarian regimes elsewhere constitute a parsimonious and plausible explanation for nonviolent revolutionary success. Looking beyond the immediate causes of revolutionary outbreaks, Ritter instead focuses on the contexts that characterize episodes of successful civil resistance against repressive states. In an original conceptualization of revolutionary dynamics, he argues that Western-aligned autocrats eventually find themselves restrained by their strong links to the democratic world through a mechanism he refers to as “the iron cage of liberalism.” Having committed rhetorically to the West’s foundational discourse of democracy and human rights, the dictators in Tehran, Tunis, and Cairo found themselves paralyzed when nonviolent crowds challenged them with tactics and demands fully compatible with the political ideals the regimes claimed as their own.
Table of Contents:
-- Part I Introduction 1 Toward a Theory of Unarmed Revolution -- Part II International Relations 2 Friendly International Relations 3 Façade Democracy -- Part III Domestic Politics 4 Survival of the Fittest 5 Ousting the Dictator -- Part IV Further Comparisons and Conclusions 6 Confrontational States 7 Rights, Rhetoric, and Revolutions