September’s Atlantic magazine has a breakdown of how countries fared after the takedown of an authoritarian government.
It is by now a truism that ousting an authoritarian regime is often far easier than sustaining freedom afterward. A recent study from the human-rights organization Freedom House argues that “people power,” rather than top-down reform or armed revolt, has the best chance of achieving that result. Researchers examined sixty-seven such political transitions over the past thirty-three years, and found that those countries in which regime change was brought about by nonviolent civic resistance were more likely to be “free” or “partly free” today than countries in which political elites alone had launched the transition or opposition groups had used violence to topple the government. Five of the forty-seven countries that experienced generally peaceful transitions are currently rated “not free,” compared with four of the twenty countries in which the opposition employed violence. As for Iraq’s future, the study offers no guide: only three of the transitions examined were driven by external interventions, with one state (Panama) currently rated “free,” one (Bosnia) “partly free,” and one (Cambodia) “not free.”
View the entire report “How Freedom Is Won: From Civic Resistance to Durable Democracy,” (pdf) here.