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The recent sweeping changes in the Middle East have highlighted the difficulties of democracy promotion and democratization. The promotion of democratic governance in developing and authoritarian states has been one of the key cornerstones of post-Cold War international politics and has classically gone together with economic reform programs aimed at the establishment of functioning market systems. The US has taken on an active role in the promotion of liberal democracy and open market systems during the last decades as well as other international actors, such as the EU and the World Bank, and a number of international NGOs. While democracy and market promotion has been a popular agenda among international actors, it has also faced numerous challenges, not least the emergence of a new '¬Üdemocracy from below'¬" as seen in Tunisia and Egypt. This text explains the different models of democracy and the varied approaches taken by a number of international actors to promote (or impose) democratic and economic reform. Drawing on a broad spectrum of empirical examples, it exposes the challenges faced by Western governments in trying to reshape the political and economic landscape across the world and tentatively offers some policy recommendations of how to improve facilitate democratization.