Transitions, Political Change and International Relations since 1945
Since the political scientist Samuel Huntington spoke of the "democratic waves" as they had occurred since the nineteenth century, the issue of the transition from undemocratic regimes, in their different modalities, to democratic states has been in the focus of specialists in political science and historians. Subsequently 1945, democratic waves have periodically taken place in Europe and the world: in the seventies in southern Europe, in the eighties in Latin America and Eastern Europe, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century in certain Arab countries. Historians have studied well the changes in domestic policy. However, the following aspects have been the object of less attention: the international influences on national processes of political change, the weight of transitions in the international agenda, the integration of new democracies in the international society, or the intervention of different kind of actors in these processes.
Globalization at the end of the XX century created the illusion of cosmopolitanism, as well as the idea of a nonstop wave of democracy all over the world. Historians could watch a panorama that allowed them to work out the Geopolitics of Transition. But, they also ascertained that the end of authoritarianism regimes opened the door to a new populism. In these cases, the transition to democracy came out imperfect. Watching Democracy as a process, nowadays historians know transitions might be thought as national projects in process, without an ending point. The study of Transitional experiences should take into consideration that countries on Transition never complete their work. As Democracy is never a concluded product, it may be known when the Transition starts, but not when they end. Moreover, during Transitional time, history shows us how Democracy can suffer an involution.