The article uses the Iraq example to show that the project of imposing democracy from outside by force is inherently contradictory and likely to fail, for reasons that go beyond the particular circumstances of the country or the Middle East. The paper then reviews a number of historical cases that have been supposed to show that democracy can result from armed invasion, and concludes that this was only so because in no case was imposing democracy the prime purpose of an invasion. Finally, it draws attention to the consequences for the quality of democracy at home in the countries most responsible for seeking to export democracy by force of arms.

The Contradictions of Democratization by Force: The Case of Iraq’, DavidBeethamDemocratization, 16 (3) (2009): 443–454. © 2009 Taylor & Francis. Reprinted by permission of Taylor & Francis Ltd,
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