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77 Foreign Aff. 95 (1998)
The Rule of Law Revival

handle is hein.journals/fora77 and id is 267 raw text is: The Rule of Law Revival
Thomas Carotbers
ONE CANNOT get through a foreign policy debate these days without
someone proposing the rule of law as a solution to the world's troubles.
How can U.S. policy on China cut through the conundrum of balancing
human rights against economic interests? Promoting the rule of law,
some observers argue, advances both principles and profits. What will
it take for Russia to move beyond Wild West capitalism to more orderly
market economics? Developing the rule of law, many insist, is the key.
How can Mexico negotiate its treacherous economic, political, and
social transitions? Inside and outside Mexico, many answer: establish
once and for all the rule of law. Indeed, whether it's Bosnia, Rwanda,
Haiti, or elsewhere, the cure is the rule of law, of course.
The concept is suddenly everywhere-a venerable part of Western
political philosophy enjoying a new run as a rising imperative of the
era of globalization. Unquestionably, it is important to life in peace-
ful, free, and prosperous societies. Yet its sudden elevation as a panacea
for the ills of countries in transition from dictatorships or statist
economies should make both patients and prescribers wary. The rule
of law promises to move countries past the first, relatively easy phase
of political and economic liberalization to a deeper level of reform.
But that promise is proving difficult to fulfill. A multitude of countries
in Asia, the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Latin America,
sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East are engaged in a wide range
of rule-of-law reform initiatives. Rewriting constitutions, laws, and
regulations is the easy part. Far-reaching institutional reform, also
THOMAS CAROTHERS is Director of Research at the Carnegie Endow-
ment for International Peace.


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