CSRC Discussion Paper 3

Democracy in the Desert: Civil Society, Nation-Building and Empire
Author(s) : Jean-Paul Faguet
Date : January 2004

The new era of US empire commenced with decisive military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the aftermath of war has proved surprisingly difficult and violent. Explanations of the US's failure to win the peace have largely overlooked the inherent difficulty of planting democracy in so inhospitable a social environment as Iraq's. This paper examines the prospects for US empire, focusing on the problem of nation building, and in particular the role of a well-functioning civil society in making democracy work.