On October 11th the Middle Eastern Studies Program welcomed Jason Brownlee, an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas-Austin, for a number of speaking engagements on campus. Brownlee discussed his recent book, Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization, and presented his theory on the relationship between elections in authoritarian states and the potential for democratization. While electoral competition does not act as a catalyst for regime change in authoritarian countries, he argued that its presence can have a positive effect on democratization after authoritarian regimes collapse. After the lectures he fielded several questions about how his findings apply to the situation in Iraq and argued that unfavorable political condi- tions in the country prior to the war undermined America’s ability to promote democracy. Professor Brownlee summarized his perspective succinctly by noting that “the U.S. does best when it does less.”