Much ink has been spilled discussing the nuclear fuel swap deal that Brazil and Turkey brokered with Iran last week. The pundits have focused on whether the deal will resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, or whether Tehran is simply playing for time, as well as what the deal says about the growing prominence of Brazil and Turkey. Yet the real meaning of the nuclear deal has gone largely overlooked: The dominant trend of the early 21st century is the rise of democratic powers to positions of regional and even global influence.
Of course, the most prominent rising power, China, is no democracy. But in this, China is the great outlier. All of today's other rising powers feature representative governance, as a cursory look around the world makes readily apparent.
The most obvious ascending democracy is India. With a population second only to China, a booming economy, some of the world's most innovative firms, and an increasingly formidable military, India is Asia's second emerging superpower. Already, it exercises a decisive voice in efforts to combat global warming, promote free trade, and ensure maritime security.