Jeffrey J. Ryan, "Democratic Transition and Consolidation
in a Polarized System: The Role of the Center in El
Salvador," Party Politics, 3 (April 1997),
In recent years, US foreign-policy-makers have been obliged
to spend a considerable amount of their energy crafting
responses to emerging democratic systems throughout the
world. In many cases, the impulses of democratization in
these countries are almost exclusively homegrown, relegating
outside actors like the USA to a largely spectator status.
In other cases, though, the USA has played a central role as
an agent of instigation in the transition process. Even when
the USA has played such a role, as it did in the case of El
Salvador in the 1980s, it has been confronted with the
limits of its capacity to effect fundamental change in the
internal dynamics of the target society.
Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Pre-coup presidential election results,
Table 2: National Assembly election results, 1982-94
Table 3: Presidential election results, 1984-94 (%).
Table 4: Opinions on best solution to the war (%).
Table 5: Prospects for ending the war (%).
If such conclusions are borne out by further research, they
suggest a reconsideration of the complex and variable role
played by the center under different conditions by scholars
and policy-makers alike.