In the global “North-West”, liberal democracy is regarded as the universally valid model of just peace governance at the national level that is to be promoted globally via foreign and development policies. In the process of implementation, however, this political project encounters serious normative problems that can be analyzed as justice conflicts. Whereas external democracy promoters refer to democracy’s universal value, those resisting democracy promotion point to the collective entitlement to a self-determined political evolution. “North-Western” governments see liberal democracy as the only embodiment of a just political order, but in those countries that are the targets of democracy promotion different understandings of appropriate norms and institutions may exist. And even if democracy is generally regarded as the best formula to construct a just polity, democratization at times is perceived as threatening intra-state peace, an equally valued goal.
The project analyzes how individual democracy promoters tackle justice conflicts and studies how justice conflicts are negotiated in the interaction between “donors” and “recipients”. Four interrelated questions are posed: (1) To what extent do “recipients” make (which types of) justice claims on external democracy promoters? (2) To what extent are “donors” confronted with (which types of) justice conflicts in their democracy promotion policies? (3) To what extent and how do democracy promoters process such justice conflicts? (4) To what extent and how are justice conflicts negotiated in the interaction between “donors” and “recipients”? The project examines “North-Western” democracy promotion policies (especially US and Germany) in three different contexts of political change that, to different degrees, question the assumption that liberal-democratic (just) governance invariably contributes to intra-state peace and meets with local acceptance: state-building (Afghanistan), regime change (Egypt), and within-regime change (Bolivia).