Two very different efforts at "nation building" are galvanizing world attention: America's struggle to construct a viable polity in Iraq and the EU's ambitious project of making Europe into a true "Union." While many issues involved are distinct, a "democratic deficit" looms large in both undertakings. Why and what will it take to overcome it?
Sovereign regimes require a political identity. To understand this, lets reflect on a few considerations with a Rousseauian flavour. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the conflicted genius who first articulated many basic themes of modernity, from democracy through authenticity, with all their contradictory demands. He is a great thinker, whose advice is always disastrous to follow.