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The Iron Cage of LiberalismInternational Politics and Unarmed Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa$
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Daniel Ritter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658329.001.0001

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Façade Democracy

Façade Democracy

Managing Authoritarianism

(p.62) 3 Façade Democracy
The Iron Cage of Liberalism

Daniel P. Ritter

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 describes the process through which the Iranian, Tunisian, and Egyptian regimes progressively came to adopt their Western patrons’ liberal rhetoric in order to justify their deepening ties to Europe and North America. To capture this regime transformation, the chapter employs the notion of “façade democracy,” that is, a type of authoritarian regime that for instrumental reasons embraces Western political values and norms, such as democracy, human rights, and individual liberty. While this transformation helped the three autocratic regimes maintain and even strengthen their lucrative connections to the West, they also forced the governments to behave in a pseudo-democratic manner that eventually generated political opportunities for dissent.

Keywords:   regime transformation, façade democracy, political values, democracy, human rights

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