Whatever political exceptionalism the United States once enjoyed is clearly waning quickly. The many troubling features of democracy and the rule of law in the United States today--from polarization, governance paralysis, and corruption, to elite capture, populism, and rising intolerance and disinformation in public discourse--are common conditions in many other democracies as well. How deep in fact is this apparent alignment? In what ways are America’s democratic and legal challenges one and the same with those of struggling democracies in other regions and in what ways are they unique? In which direction does the causal arrow between the United States and the world primarily run?
Thomas Carothers is senior vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In that capacity he oversees all of the research programs at Carnegie. He also directs the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and carries out research and writing on democracy-related issues.
Carothers is a leading authority on international support for democracy, human rights, governance, the rule of law, and civil society. He has worked on democracy assistance projects for many organizations and carried out extensive field research on aid efforts around the world.
He is the author of six critically acclaimed books and many articles in prominent journals and newspapers. He is a distinguished visiting professor at the Central European University in Budapest and was previously a visiting faculty member at Nuffield College, Oxford University, and Johns Hopkins SAIS.
Prior to joining the Endowment, Carothers practiced international and financial law at Arnold & Porter and served as an attorney adviser in the office of the legal adviser of the U.S. Department of State.
His recent publications include “Democracy Support Strategies: Leading With Women’s Political Empowerment” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, September 2016), “Is the United States Giving Up on Democracy Promotion? (Foreign Policy, September 2016), and “Look Homeward, Democracy Promoter” (Foreign Policy, January 2016).