What international events in 2003 might explain why Zakaria was motivated to write The Future of Freedom?
I am not sure that there was one particular or specific international event that prompted the publication of his book in 2003. It seems to me that the book is more of a genesis of thought in regards to what Zakaria was seeing take place all over the world. The rapid spread of ideas due to increased access to information technology as well as greater liberalization of economic policies in a globalized marketplace, along with the almost unquestioned belief that liberal democracy should be standard in all nations with a "by any means mentality" are the agents of action that enable Zakaria to contemplate problems and solutions to what is happening in the landscape in the early part of the decade. Certainly, Zakaria is influenced by the United States' involvement in nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the model of democracy no matter what is being facilitated. Zakaria wishes to pause and assess how democracy best works and that like all political institutions, it is not something that can be arbitrarily installed and expected to flourish on its own in nations and settings that do not have the best conditions in which it can grow. Zakaria recognizes the convergence of political, social, and economic realities in different parts of the world and writes his book to address these elements. I don't think there is one particular event that serves as the justification for the work, but rather an embrace of the idea that there are fluid dynamics in play in how the world is changing. His ideas result from the observation of these dynamics.