Thomas Carothers: 1989 Through the Darkened Lens of the Present

Talk by Thomas Carothers

The world looked hopefully to the events around the year 1989. Political and economic upheavals changed states and societies, and expectations in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc were high. Democratic elections and market capitalism would make autocracy and bad governance a thing of the past almost overnight, according to the widespread notion. However, the hopes of 1989 were not or only partially fulfilled and the euphoria of the 1990s gradually gave way to disillusionment.

In his lecture, Thomas Carothers asks whether the expectations of the events of 1989 were too optimistic. What blame can be attached to the political mistakes of the West, and what lessons can be drawn from 1989?

The lecture was held as part of the ZOiS event "1989 Through the Darkened Lens of the Present" on 11 November 2019.

Thomas Carothers is senior vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also directs the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program and is the author of several critically acclaimed books on democracy promotion, like Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies (Carnegie, 2006) and Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge (Carnegie, 2006).