There is wide recognition that in the non-Western world profound social and cultural changes are taking place as traditional societies have been exposed to the ideas and the ways of the West. There is also general agreement that new political patterns and relationships are evolving in these countries. However, with respect to most non-Western countries, it remains difficult to foresee whether the consequences of social change are to be stable, viable political practices or endemic instabilities in government. In many cases, it is still an open question whether the future will bring them a liberal democratic form of politics or some type of authoritarian rule such as communism.This state of affairs can be a challenge to the comparative method of political analysis. This is particularly so because most of the non-Western political systems have many features in common. They are generally the product of a traditional past in which the administration of government was the preserve of a select few. Many show the influence of a previous colonial rule, some even that of the same country. More important, they are often quite self-conscious about the problem of moving from a definite past to an idealized future.