Since the East-West conflict ended in the failure of communism, the debate on development policy has undergone a paradigm change. No longer does the scope of development aid depend on a country’s ideological proximity to one of two hostile blocks confronting each other across the world; instead, decisions are now increasingly informed by a potential beneficiary’s political performance with regard to the quality of its democratic, constitutional, and market-economy order. Because of this paradigm change, and because of the threats to the global order arising from international terrorism and other sources, technical literature at the start of the 21st century is increasingly addressing itself to the triumph of liberal democracy, described so impressively by Francis Fukuyama in the early ’90s as a system capable of responding sustainably to any global challenge. Knowledgeable observers and commentators all, the three authors whose books will be presented in this article describe this new global order which revolves around the creation of democratic structures that span the world. Bill Emmott, the British editor-in-chief of the Economist, outlines the beginnings of this new global order in his book 20:21 Vision, an order that is currently dominated by the USA as the sole remaining superpower together with its economic system of global capitalism. Analyzing lines of economic and political development that reach from the 20th well into the 21st century, he demonstrates future opportunities and risks in the interplay between the global powers. In addition, Mr Emmott devotes some time to considering the probable roles of three other players in global politics – China, Japan, and the EU. Placing each in relation to the US as a global power, he shows clearly that potential dangers exist throughout the first half of the 21st century, particularly in southeast Asia, due to the presence of ambitious China and vulnerable Japan. The EU, so Mr Emmott believes, will not be a powerful independent player in foreign politics on the global plane because that voluntary union of 25 or more states, though enviable, will remain all-too fragmented even in the 21st century. Nevertheless, an increasingly close-knit Europe will be able to hold its own as a guardian of stability and prosperity, particularly as democracy and capitalism develop in the states of central and eastern Europe. In his book, Mr Emmott devotes adequate space to an appreciation of the role played by capitalism in the form of a free-market economy in overcoming totalitarian and illiberal societal orders. In his opinion, capitalism clearly won the ,contest of ideas‘ with Marxism and its derivative philosophies after the end of the Second World War. In doing away with myths and legends about the alleged liberation of the masses from the yoke of capitalism in Russia, China, and elsewhere during the 20th century, Mr Emmott does not mince his words. The upheavals in these countries did not result in freedom for the people, nor in their participation in the means of production; rather, they brought fresh suffering, the death of millions by murder, and corrupt systems headed by men whose contempt for humanity had no equal in the 20th century. At the end of his discourse, Mr Emmott proposes an attitude of ‘sceptical optimism’. In his view, the USA will go on being the leading global power in the 21st century, defending peace, democracy, free markets, and the rule of law throughout the world to serve its own interests. To be sure, differences and disputes with allies and partners are bound to crop up occasionally, causing incomprehension and irritation on both sides. Ultimately, however, there will be no alternative to this US-dominated global order within the foreseeable future. According to Mr Emmott, the same holds true for capitalism. A look at history suggests that the pendulum has always been swinging back and forth, and will go on doing so. The strong points of capitalism, flexibility and adaptability, are confronted by two other characteristics, greed and pitilessness, which lead to popular resentment. However, Mr Emmott believes that there is reason enough for optimism about the future perspectives of America’s leadership and of capitalism. All over the world, the decline of communism led to an unheard-of triumph of democracy, not least because America is so convinced of its mission and inflexible in its belief in the defining power of the free market, both clearly expressed in the Bush doctrine following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The same approach is used by Natan Sharansky in his book The Case for Democracy. A convicted dissident, Mr Sharansky was himself caught up in the pitiless machinery of an authoritarian regime in the Soviet Union of the ’80s, whose decline he witnessed later on. After pressure exerted by the Reagan administration had secured his release from a Gulag camp after nine years of imprisonment, he emigrated to Israel, where he served as cabinet minister in different capacities under various governments, including minister of trade, deputy prime minister and, under Ehud Barak, minister of the interior. In his book, Mr Sharansky discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in detail, praising vociferously the, moral clarity‘ with which Ronald Reagan confronted illiberal and totalitarian systems at the time. In Mr Sharansky’s opinion, it was this attitude which ultimately led to the collapse of communism, and it is the same attitude that will force those regimes that encourage international terrorism to their knees today. In Mr Sharansky’s view, this principle must be pursued consistently even though less severe infringements of constitutional standards in democratic societies might have to be approved tacitly, such as those that happened in the US or Israel. Mr Sharansky believes that democracy curbs the violent urges of both individuals and regimes, and that consequently the export of democracy by any means to hand should be a key element in any national security agenda. In Mr Sharansky’s world, faltering political resolve is not least among the elements that hamper the further triumph of democracy. ‘Pacifists’ and ‘realists’ are working hand in hand with tyrants. They prefer making peace with despots over entering into an open conflict with them. Having read the two books by Mr Emmott and Mr Sharansky, both insistently pleading for the global implementation of democracy, the monograph The Future of Freedom published by the editor-in-chief of Newsweek International, Fareed Zakaria, reads like an antithesis. Mr Zakaria’s provocative theory is that life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness are hampered by the increasing application of democratic principles in the private as well as in the public sector. Contrary to conventional wisdom, democratization is not a panacea; rather, we are suffering from an overabundance of democracy. One of the results of this development is the growing number of illiberal democracies. However, Mr Zakaria does not wish to see his book interpreted as an argument against democracy but as an appeal to take time out for a look at its ‘dark side’. The author uses historical arguments against the speedy democratization of developing countries by the West, pointing out that constitutionalism and capitalism took a long time to evolve in Europe and North America. Any society that cannot build on living structures such as these runs the risk of degenerating into an illiberal regime. Unlike Mr Sharansky, Mr Zakaria is convinced that certain economic conditions must be created in any country before the implementation of democracy as a sustainable societal model may begin. To support his argument, he quotes social scientists Seymour Martin Lipset, Adam Przeworski, and Fernando Limongi, whose research led them to the conclusion that the higher the per-capita income is in any country, the longer its system of government is likely to endure. The sociologists’ findings suggest that democratic systems are more likely to evolve in countries with a per-capita income of more than US$ 3,000, and that they become almost impossible to destabilize if the per-capita income exceeds US$ 6,000. In this context, Mr Zakaria is more concerned with embedding democracy durably and permanently and less with implementing short-lived democratic structures. In his opinion, the key lies in guaranteeing and securing stable prosperity, the prerequisite that provides the soil in which the tender seedling of democracy can grow and thrive. What is interesting is what Mr Zakaria has to say about the ‘special case of Islam’, particularly in the Middle East. The author recommends the West not to be too persistent in its demands for implementing democratic standards in the region. Rather, its strategy should be to begin by gradually liberalizing the Arab world, throwing open its economy and democratizing it only afterwards. This calls for profound economic and institutional reforms. As political framework conditions for the development of a market economy and a capitalist environment are created, a middle class of citizens and entrepreneurs will form which will ultimately generate the pressure that will produce further political reforms and put the country on the way towards sustainable democratic structures.