The story most media accounts tell of the recent burst of violence in Iraq seems clear-cut and straightforward. In reality, what is happening is anything but.
Democracies today are in the middle of a period of envy and despondency. Authoritarian competitors are aglow with arrogant confidence. The Francis Fukuyama moment—when in 1989 Westerners were told that liberal democracy was the final form toward which all political striving was directed—now looks like a quaint artifact of a vanished unipolar moment. For the first time since the end of the cold war, the advance of democratic constitutionalism has stopped