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Open Think Tank Articles

November 1, 2012 | Democracy and Islam: Compatible Norm Systems?

Salahodin Aryapur: Ever since the beginning of the global “war on terror”, the issue of democratic governance and reforms in the Muslim world has been high on the list of issues. This master’s thesis takes a look at whether the theories of state found within Islam are compatible with democratic values.

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September 27, 2012 | What After the Arab Spring?

Vikas Kumar: Arab societies need their own local solutions in creating democratic societies. These solutions can take on a variety of forms. However, some reforms are more likely to bear fruit given the cultural context. Here are some ideas for laying the groundwork for democracy in the Arab world.

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June 18, 2012 | Egypt Has Changed Too Much to Be Run by a New Dictator

Jann Boeddeling: Last year, the Egyptian people asserted themselves against an oppressive state. They have stood their ground on Tahrir Square and elsewhere ever since. At the end, they may carve out a more permanent and much different political role for themselves than many currently think: a distinctively Islamic political system that puts a very direct emphasis on people-power - a perpetual Tahrir.

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May 7, 2012 | Losing Democracy: Turkey under the AKP

Anonymous: The first election of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) brought Turkish citizens hope regarding the democratization of the country. Two terms later, opponents are imprisoned because of their political ideas, religious values are infringing on secular institutions, and power is being concentrated at the top.

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March 22, 2012 | NATO and the OSCE: Joining Forces to Support the Arab Spring

Gillian Kennedy: NATO should seek to encourage a stronger collaborative relationship with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE has experience with a number of democracy-building options that are outside NATO’s expertise, but key to a stronger relationship with states caught up in the Arab Spring.

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March 18, 2012 | Education, Democracy, Future Leaders

Isabelle Natalie Siqu Summerson: NATO should establish an online education and skills training program aimed at young people in order to reduce inequality in regional partner countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The ability to reach young people important if we are to connect with the next generation of leaders.

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March 13, 2012 | One NATO: Strengthening Unity through Transparency and Engagement

Memo 38: To encourage ownership and identification among its Member states and their publics, NATO should become more transparent and support stronger engagement between citizens. It can accomplish this by better defining Member contributions, making its internal processes more open, and initiating participatory programs like military exchanges and a cyber awareness campaign.

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February 28, 2012 | NATO's Public Diplomacy Overload

Daryl Morini: Today’s NATO suffers from a public diplomacy overload rather than an image problem. Far from being a panacea to its democratic deficit, the dominant influence of public diplomacy strategies and their advocates on Allied decision-making is arguably part of the problem.

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February 27, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Values and Community

Editorial Team: In the first theme week from our current policy workshop, we focus on building the feeling of community among NATO members and increasing identification with this “unique community of values.” How does NATO need to change to better connect with its publics? Read the top ideas from our young writers!

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February 26, 2012 | NATO: A Worldwide Alliance for Democracy

Samantha Elizabeth Koss: The solution to the continental divisions between NATO members lies in enlarging membership and refocusing the identity and NATO’s mission. NATO should aim for the security and promotion of values of all democracies worldwide, not limited to those within the transatlantic alliance.

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February 2, 2012 | Hungary: A Test Case for EU Relevance

Jack Bicker: The diplomatic turmoils surrounding domestic politics in Hungary are a chance for EU institutions to define their effectiveness at a moment of significant flux. They also confirm that a potentially consolidated EU could be a strong and valued partner in a continuing transatlantic alliance.

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October 18, 2011 | Alhurra TV: Broadcasting a Free Libya This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: Controlling what people heard, watched and read was key for Qadhafi to keep control over the Libyan people. Now, with the regime gone, Libya Al Hurra TV is playing a big part in the new free media.

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September 7, 2011 | Turkey's De Facto Moral Compass

Marc William Zedler: The Arab Spring has left the Middle East with a power vacuum. Three regional players, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, will be the region’s deciders for the next decade. As a global middle power, Turkey should take a principled stance in a region that needs its leadership now more than ever.

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August 26, 2011 | Can Democracy Work in the Arab World?

Stephanie Mazzola: Amid calls for democracy in the Arab world, we cannot help but associate “democracy” with the liberal model of government of the West. But can popular sovereignty be applied to Islamic states? It is possible, but they must first establish social foundations that allow a democratic transition to take place.

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August 22, 2011 | Mubarak's Trial: Arab Authoritarianism on Its Knees

Gillian Kennedy: The trial of Hosni Mubarak signals the end of an authoritarian era in the Middle East. For too long, the US and Europe acquiesced in fraudaulent elections and brutal political repression in the region. Now, they must engage with a new Arab polity to secure a real democratic transition.

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July 22, 2011 | NATO's Partnerships and the "Arabellion"

Karl-Heinz Kamp: For decades, NATO favored stability over freedom in the Arab world. Now, the Alliance should support its partner countries with expertise to make their armed forces more effective in a democratic environment, especially in human rights training, international law, defense planning and border security.

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June 21, 2011 | NATO and the Arab Spring This Article contains Flash-Video

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: The international community has to ensure that the Arab Spring does not turn into a bleak winter. In Libya the question is not if Qadhafi goes, but when. NATO can help North Africa and the Middle East with its democratic transition - complementing support from other international actors, particularly the European Union and the United Nations.

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May 2, 2011 | Growth, the Rural Gap and Legitimacy in China

Franziska Petersen: This paper analyzes how the rural gap and the environmental question may stifle the legitimacy of the Chinese regime and thus the continuation of the process of accumulation and growth in China.

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March 4, 2011 | A Choice Between Reform and Stability

Sarah Redohl: In the wake of uprisings in North Africa, NATO may be forced to make a choice between much-needed reform or stable dictatorships. With a hefty aim to be the world guarantor of security by 2020, NATO will need to reconsider its newest partnerships, beyond the interest of its allies, and start guaranteeing actual security.

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January 31, 2011 | Don't be Afraid of Egypt's Muslim Brothers

Gillian Kennedy: The West’s political leaders must not be afraid to engage with the Muslim Brotherhood. They are not seeking an Iranian style theocracy, but rather a democratic system with conservative Islamic norms. The younger generation of Muslim Brothers is even open to dialogue with Israel. In no other country is there an Islamist movement so experienced with working with a coalition of broad based groups.

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May 6, 2010 | Creating a Sense of Community

Amitai Etzioni: The current crisis in Europe has led many to call for building stronger shared economic institutions and stronger EU governance. Actually what is missing most is a demos, a true sense of community. Binding EU-wide referendums on the same day in all the member states on issues of great importance are needed.

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February 23, 2010 | Is Obama Reading the Soviet Guidebook?

Osama Bin Javaid: The current Western involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan is only embedding deeper extremism. Let real democracy develop, as opposed to Karzai’s version, allow the Taliban to run and win elections. Empowering and educating the Afghan masses are the only ways out of NATO’s disarray.

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September 24, 2009 | How Web 2.0 is Changing Politics

Bohnen & Kallmorgen: The political decision-making process, and thus our very democracy, will change rapidly in the next few years. New technologies will make participation among citizens and other actors much more common and important.

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September 14, 2009 | Performance Matters, Challenges for Democracy Assistance

Marc Saxer: Democracy assistance must seek to strengthen confidence in the ability to perform of the democratic model and step up its efforts to highlight, by discursive means, the long-term benefits of the democratic model.

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June 12, 2009 | EU Elections: A Missed Opportunity to Fix the Democratic Deficit

Marek Kubista: The European Union’s lack of legitimacy is of greater concern than the low voter turnout. To fix the democratic deficit, citizens need to feel like they have some power over the decisions made at a European level. European issues need to be debated by the press and national politicians must stop using Europe as a scapegoat for unpopular decisions.

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April 23, 2009 | Future of Democracy in Question After Financial Crisis

Bijan Daniel Khezri: Blind faith in democracy is coming to an end. Rather than introducing more regulation, democracies should become more corporate and results-oriented. Until such reform happens, increasing numbers of ambitious citizens will abandon democracies for other nations.

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November 13, 2008 | Canadian Elections: Example of Democracy at its Worst

Eimear O'Casey: Three general elections have been held in Canada over the last four years. Although Canadian elections don’t get much media coverage, this election deserves our attention as an example of an ailing electoral system and the failures of vote-swapping. We need to draw some lessons from this display of first-past-the-post politics at its worst.

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October 2, 2008 | The Purpose of the Party

Jackson Janes & Tim Stuchtey: Drastic differences exist between the political party systems in the US and Germany. A German might be shocked to learn that many Americans believe the most capable candidates for political office are the ones who make decisions on the basis of high moral integrity. Americans might be taken aback by the German notion of a party program.

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September 16, 2008 | The US and UN Should Resolve Election-Law Tensions in Iraq

Sarwar Amin: The Iraqi Parliament will soon embark on a daunting task of re-deliberating on the controversial Provincial Election Law. The Kurds feel like they are being treated unfairly. The US and UN must help the process.

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August 29, 2008 | Pakistan's New Commitment to the War on Terror This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Hussain Haqqani: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States reaffirms his country’s democracy and promises better cooperation with the United States and Afghanistan in an interview with Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation.

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June 26, 2008 | Crouching Tiger, Coward Dragon: The Rise of India and China

Ethan Christian Arrow: The rapid growth of India and China is reshaping the present international order. Representatives of these nations elucidate their intention to replicate the West’s wealth without replacing its established international order. Following such a path, without first securing democratic freedoms and institutions, will however, prove problematic.

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June 19, 2008 | The Dream of Afghan Democracy is Dead

Anatol Lieven: NATO might fail in Afghanistan. Hopes for democracy, development, and progress in Afghanistan are already dead. Even though the situation seems hopeless, the West can and should prevent further deterioration.

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May 27, 2008 | The Paranoia Card: A comment on Tsygankov's "The Russophobia Card"

Andreas Umland: US “anti-Russian” rhetoric is not that particular. One can hear similar voices in both Western and Eastern Europe. In the unlikely case that Russia becomes a truly democratic country, much of what Andrei Tsygankov laments in his recent article in “The Moscow Times” would simply disappear.

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May 21, 2008 | Understanding America

Peter H. Schuck: As in de Tocqueville’s time, American culture, politics, and economics stand apart from the rest of the world. Examining American institutions, public policies and cultural patterns would help the world understand America’s exceptionalism compared to other liberal democracies.

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May 16, 2008 | The Need to Nurture the Latin American-European Relationship

Eckart von Klaeden: The “strategic partnership” between the EU and Latin America must be followed up with concrete and substantive political initiatives. The European Union, Latin America, and the United States must work towards a trilateral dialog.

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May 9, 2008 | The Two Towers of Future Russia

Andreas Umland: The rise of Dmitry Medvedev will mobilize the large anti-Western constituency in various sectors of the Russian elite. We may soon observe the emergence of another, different “tower” in the Russian state apparatus around which Moscow’s various nationalist politicians and publicists will unite.

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May 5, 2008 | Gorbachev Number Two: Dmitry Medvedev

Andreas Umland: Sooner or later it is to be expected that Medvedev’s deeper political beliefs – his apparently liberal and democratic views – will come to the fore.

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May 2, 2008 | Swallowing Our Pride

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger: Values and interests should not be opposed. The fact that the West and China follow different regulatory political concepts should not prevent cooperation. We should be humble enough to deal with undemocratic states without fearing to be untrue to our convictions.

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February 28, 2008 | Ukraine's "European Choice"

Christine Otsver: Political disengagement and a weak economy endanger democracy in Ukraine.

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Global Must Read Articles

August 15, 2012 | If Europe Can Do It, So Can the Islamic World

Can Islamism reorient its extremist wings into a moderate force for modernization? ++ Europe’s history, especially that of the Christian Democratic parties and Germany who we thought could never accept democracy, shows that it can. ++ US policies toward the Arab world need to distinguish between potential friends and enemies. ++ The US should promote cultural exchanges, attempt to build bridges

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March 1, 2012 | Europe and the Arab Revolutions: A New Vision for Democracy and Human Rights

The Arab revolutions present the EU with a distinct challenge: still embarrassed by their support for the stability offered by the former authoritarian leaders, it now aims at supporting the fledgling democracies and human rights in the region. This is especially complex as the protesters across the southern Mediterranean do not see Europe as a political model and democracy. Whilst they share

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March 1, 2012 | New Socio-Political Actors in North Africa: A Transatlantic Perspective

The chapters in this report analyze a number of features of each of the three socio-political actors in North Africa: the civil society, economic actors, and Islamist parties. It looks at their role in the current phase of transition, the extent to which they can be defined as “new” actors, and their relationship with other components of the state and society, including the remnants of the old

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February 8, 2012 | Drones vs. Democracy

Traditional warfare is being replaced by intelligence agency operated drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. ++ Americans won’t see a debate about the war on terror because the details are secret. ++ Conservative estimates suggest that hundreds of civilians have been killed in Pakistan. ++ Secrecy is beneficial in international relations but citizens can no longer decide whether their

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November 21, 2011 | Who Gets Protection in Occupy-ed America?

The heavy-handed police tactics used to break up Occupy protests raises questions about their role in a democratic society. ++ The apparent absence of empathy shown by officers has shocked Americans. ++ The defense of the use of pepper spray uses language “eerily reminiscent” of Bush-era torture justifications. ++ Even if such actions are to-the-letter legal, hard questions need to be

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November 3, 2011 | Islamist Parties Should Not Be Excluded

Fears over the rise to power of Islamist parties in post-revolutionary Arab countries are unfounded. ++ Islamic parties cannot afford to rule single-handedly and ignore the secular population. ++ Instead of building a religious theocracy, politicians from Islamist parties will be more preoccupied with providing jobs and improving the quality of life. ++ Rather than exclude or alienate the

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October 21, 2011 | Tunisia Must Lead Arab Spring Once Again

Sunday’s elections in Tunisia mark an important step for the Arab Spring. ++ Tunisia can be an important model for other nations; its strong private sector, respect for women’s rights, and lack of sectarian feuds make it a promising young democracy. ++ The US can help Tunisia take this step by helping monitor the elections for fairness, engaging with Tunisia’s moderate Islamic

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September 1, 2011 | Smiles on Surface, but Distrust Between US and China

The US-China relationship suffers from a mutual lack of trust. ++ A zero-sum view of the world sees any Chinese economic or military gains as “expansionary” at the expense of the West, just as Beijing is suspicious of a dysfunctional and “trigger-happy” US. ++ Despite decades of interaction, “increased interdependence has not led to better understandings”

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July 11, 2011 | "Arab Youth Steps in Where Islamism Failed"

The Arab spring has slid into a long, hot summer. After toppling their autocratic regimes, Tunisia and Egypt have yet to show their movement toward democracy is sustainable, while the violent conflicts in Syria and Libya drag on. ++ Some fear Islamists could emerge triumphant from these messy conflicts. But a host of young, dynamic reform groups are also beginning to show a pulse. ++ These

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May 26, 2009 | India Should Adopt Presidential System

Despite being the largest elections ever held, involving more than 700 million voters, India’s
new government will “consist mostly of politicians unfit to hold ministerial office.” ++ Most of India’s political parties are led by dynasties that prize loyalty over merit. ++ Ministries have become lucrative personal fiefdoms. ++ India’s democracy should be reformed into a presidential system of

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May 20, 2009 | The US Should Lead by Example with Democracy

Under the Obama Administration the promotion of democracy in foreign policy is likely to take a back seat to defense, diplomacy, and development. ++ In previous administrations democracy took on an “imperialist connotation,” but there “is a danger in over-reacting to the failures of Bush’s policies.” ++ Democracy is not in retreat, but it is “important to distinguish the goal from the means used

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May 5, 2009 | US Vaccuum Sees Iran in Power Play for Middle East

As the US retreats from the Middle East, Iran has a sophisticated, multi-level strategy to step in and take control of the region. ++ Iran-controlled groups and “front” companies have been caught actively destabilising six nations - all of whom are experiencing economic and/or political crises and are close allies of the US. ++ Lebanon could succumb first as Iran is spending “massive amounts of

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April 8, 2009 | Turkey's Shift Questions Brussels' Approach

President Obama’s visit to Turkey signals its importance. ++ It can serve as a model of a stable democratic Muslim country and as a strategic bridge “between energy-poor Europe and energy-rich Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.” ++ As Turkey shifts away from the West and towards its neighbors ranging from Russia to the Gulf, this ominous reorientation will have significant consequences

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March 18, 2009 | Small Victory for Democracy in Pakistan

Iftikhar Chaudhry will once again be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. ++ A peaceful campaign has been waged to uphold a central tenet of democracy, “the right for a constitutional office-holder to not be ousted in an unconstitutional manner.” ++ Having returned to office, Chaudry will now feel pressure to become “the people’s champion.” ++ The reinstatement of Chaudry showed

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February 23, 2009 | Say No to False Democracy, Latin America

Hugo Chavez continues to “demolish the democratic institutions” that enabled Venezuela its relative successes over the past 40 years. ++ Most worrying is his endorsement of the crippling view that reform and so-called “bourgeois” democracy cannot create social justice: his alternative “reeks of patronage” and has done little to develop the country. ++ As is

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February 13, 2009 | The Birth of Democracy in Iraq

The success of the Iraqi election shot down Washington’s contention that democracy in Iraq was a fantasy and provided stark contrast to the post-Saddam days when “the only communal or social ties […] were those of ethnicity and sect.” ++ In contrast to the last 6 years, Iraq now has a free press, political competition and secular politics which favor the US and leave Iran standing

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February 11, 2009 | Democracies Advocate War

The world’s most recent wars —Gaza 09, Iraq 03 — had the same objective: secure deterrence through the extreme suffering of civilians. ++ This policy has left many speechless as it revealed a “tacit endorsement by large democratic majorities,” which questions the value of democracy. ++ Undoubtedly, democracy remains the best form of political organization the world has seen. ++

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February 3, 2009 | Remember Rosa Luxemberg

Lenin’s revolution never succeeded and socialism was left undefined — a mixture of bureaucracy and a police state — as the ideals behind the revolution were suppressed. ++ The sacrifice of Rosa Luxemburg gained her immortality in history to remind us that democratic legitimacy lies with the people so that no revolution is meaningful unless it establishes democracy and the values which

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January 22, 2009 | Putin and Chavez: Partners In Crime

President Chavez and PM Putin are “enjoying a burgeoning friendship,” finding common ground in their oppression of dissidents and the violent crime ruling their cities. ++ Their regimes do little to tackle the pervasive murder of political objectors and journalists; instead, the citizenry is faced with “a leviathan cloaked in the misappropriated vocabulary of democracy.”

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January 20, 2009 | "An Inauguration for the People"

Barack Obama’s inauguration is shaping up to be a party of unparalleled proportions. ++ An estimated 4 million people will attend, as a watershed in US history takes place. ++ The uniqueness of the occasion goes beyond Obama being African-American: he is also the first President of non Western European descent. ++ This day is likely to be reminiscent of the furor when Jackson, himself breaking

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December 1, 2008 | Collapse of Democracy Threatens in Thailand

Thailand’s democracy looks on the verge of collapse once again. ++ Antigovernment protestors, seeking to reform the country’s democratic system to better control its outcome, are occupying key public buildings. ++ The army is calling upon the government to resign and have even considered a coup. ++ The prospect of political chaos bodes particularly poorly for Thailand in a time of economic

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November 4, 2008 | Far-Right Bucking (but Not Wrecking) the System

Right-wing victory in Austria is not a revival of Nazism but a reinforcement of democracy. ++ Unchecked fears of nationalism and overly sensitive cultural policies prevented Europeans from properly dealing with the cultural overhaul of recent decades, resulting in a backlash of resentment. ++ Austrian populists do not condone violence and want to bring “fresh air” to their stagnant,

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October 30, 2008 | International Middle-Man Fund

International Monetary Fund resources are limited and might not handle all those requests from new, strategically located democracies like Pakistan, Ukraine and Hungary if things get too severe; however, the US, Japan and Europe should still borrow from the IMF when needed in order to ensure global stability without borrowing from Gulf Arab states, Russia or China, which would attach political

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October 27, 2008 | Role Model for the US: Indonesia

With much attention being paid to the US elections, it’s time people started to notice the elections in Indonesia, a nation that “clearly refutes the proposition that democracy and Islam are incompatible.” ++ Since 1998 – the year a coup ended three decades of authoritarianism – the country has undergone remarkable change for the better. ++ A thriving civil society must do more to

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October 2, 2008 | Crisis in North Korea: Opportunity for Democracy

The possible regime crisis in N. Korea poses a threat of loose nukes, floods of refugees, and long-term economic upheaval, but is also a great chance to reunite the Peninsula under democratic rule. ++ The US-South Korean Forces may need to intervene to keep WMDs out of the wrong hands. ++ S. Korea fears an economic situation like that after the Berlin Wall, but the longer unification is delayed,

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September 18, 2008 | A Deal for Zimbabwe, but Not Ideal

The new political agreement in Zimbabwe is a boon to President Robert Mugabe; he will retain the presidency, command the armed forces, and head the cabinet. ++ His opponent – and victor in the March elections – Morgan Tsvangirai, will take control of the disastrous economy. ++ At best, violence will wane and the starving will receive foreign aid. ++ The accord delineates no path

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September 4, 2008 | Saturday's Election Could Save Democracy in Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari is committed to a democratic, moderate and progressive Pakistan. ++ If elected president, he promises to return the constitutional balance the powers of the presidency that were altered by Zia ul-Haq and Musharraf, to reconstruct an independent judiciary, and to confront and c ontain terrorism. ++ Dictatorial forces are trying to destabilize the new democratic government, but

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September 3, 2008 | Pakistan's Future Depends on India, China and the US

Pakistan is often called a failed state it is more accurately labeled as a flailing
state. The PPP-PML coalition cannot solve every problem alone but needs help
from India, China and the US. These nations, which had once contributed to the
distortion of Pakistani politics, may now play a positive role in assisting
Pakistanis develop a democratic order to cope with several critical

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August 14, 2008 | "We Are All Georgians"

Russia claims to protect Ossetians, but its brutal military campaign encompassed the whole of Georgia and therefore a regime change in Georgia seems to be its true aim. ++ In light of these events, Georgia’s reasons for seeking NATO membership are apparent. ++ Hopefully, NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine. ++ The US and its allies must persuade the Russian

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August 4, 2008 | Turkish Democracy Has a Very Narrow Safety Margin

Last week Turkey narrowly averted a catastrophe when its Constitutional Court turned back state prosecutors’ motion to disband the ruling Justice and Development Party by only one vote. ++ Had the prosecutor succeeded in his request the will of Turkish voters would have been disregarded and Turkey’s chances for EU membership ruined. ++ Such a ruling was a victory not only for Turkey, but

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June 25, 2008 | Zimbabwe is Not Just Another African Tragedy

Something can still be done to save the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. ++ For this, the US, the UK, and the EU need to cut Mugabe’s access to foreign financial goods and services, and the African Union and Zimbabwe’s Southern neighbors must take action to deprive the government of its legitimacy. ++ South Africa in particular can and should exert pressure: neighboring chaos is

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June 17, 2008 | Deep Ideological Forces Cause the Transatlantic Rift

Whereas Europeans believe strong national or religious identities are detrimental to democracy, for Americans, expression of identity is a fundamental right. ++ This conflicting understanding of identity and democracy precedes the Bush era and will survive the election of someone new to the White House. ++ As a result of the fundamentalist threat, we are more likely to witness the resurgence of

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May 30, 2008 | China's Democratic Aftershocks

Last month’s devastating earthquake in Sichuan has taught the Chinese a very important lesson, namely the importance of civil society. ++ The outpouring of foreign and local aid accompanied by a plethora of new philanthropic websites and aid organizations, has been too massive for the government to regulate. ++ As the Party feels its grip wavering, Chinese citizens are coming together from all

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May 23, 2008 | Overseas Deployment Law Endangers Democracy

The Japanese government is asking to be granted permanent authority over the use of military force. ++ Currently every foreign deployment of troops requires separate legislative approval and is bound by strict legal parameters. ++ While accountability and transparency in the process of authorizing military engagement has improved in most democracies, the proposal would amount to a carte blanche,

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May 22, 2008 | The birth of Chinese Democracy

The earthquake in Sichuan may be remembered as a milestone in the Chinese “peaceful evolution” toward capitalism and democracy. ++ Private Chinese donations have already raised more than $500 million. ++ That kind of bottom-up public spirit is a mark of citizens, not subjects. ++ There are 75 million blogs, often critical of the government, and tens of thousands of citizen protests

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May 19, 2008 | Lukashenko May Stay but His Era is Over

Over the last 14 years, Lukashenko has secured Minsk’s sovereignty, improved the wealth of the population, and raised the interest of European investors. ++ Yet these achievements mask rampant corruption and lack of democracy. ++ Since both Soviet times and the era of Eastern European autocracies are over, Belarus needs real reforms. ++ Unchallenged, Lukashenko may remain in power but he must

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May 7, 2008 | Crisis of Democracy Jeopardizes US-Turkish Relations

While Turkey’s judiciary, with support from its bureaucratic and military elite, threatens to disband the AKP, the US remains reluctant to take sides. ++ The US should realize that these anti-democratic groups are not necessarily more pro-Western, and formulate a clear pro-democracy policy towards Turkey. ++ Staying non-committal will be viewed by the majority of Turks as hypocritical pragmatism,

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May 2, 2008 | "India's Dalai Dilemma"

In the face of turmoil in Tibet, India has found itself in a delicate position. ++ As a democracy, India has a tradition of permitting peaceful protest, yet it is also intent on improving Indo-Sino relations and continuing to expand trade with China. ++ “India’s government has attempted to draw a distinction between its humanitarian obligations as an asylum country and its political

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April 30, 2008 | Pakistani Democracy: A Beacon of Hope

Democratic governance in Pakistan is now a reality and the new government plans to act boldly and clearly in full awareness of the stakes of both success and failure. ++ The government will continue the war against terrorism not because of international pressure but because the eradication of terrorism is of primary importance to Pakistan. ++ The government intends to demonstrate to its “people

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April 25, 2008 | "Existential Threats" Are Holding India Back

India is confronted with a multitude of territorial claims from its neighbors. ++ The Asian giant is vulnerable to “the tyranny of geography.” ++ The pluralist democracy’s fragile and instable surroundings and the subsistence of contrasting beliefs, interests, and ideals in the region justify New Dehli’s cautious approach to contemporary international crisis situations

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April 22, 2008 | The Games Are About Politics Not Athletics

There is no other reason for a nation, whether democratic or totalitarian, to want to host the costly modern Olympics, than the chance to stage a propagandist publicity stunt. ++ The Beijing Games’ ideological content is indubitable. ++ Since a boycott would be useless, we should encourage politicization and exploit the attention of the media with counter-stunts and demonstrations for human

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April 14, 2008 | The Worldwide Democratization Wave is Waning

Since 1974, over 90 countries have adopted a democratic course. Around the turn of the century, 60% of the world’s independent states were considered democratic. Yet in Foreign Affairs, Larry Diamond warns us against celebrating the triumph of democracy too soon: in just
a few years, the wave of democratization has turned into an authoritarian pull that has precipitated the world into a kind of

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March 25, 2008 | Support Democracy and Hope in Pakistan

Taliban and al Qaeda members sheltered in Pakistan are serious threats to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. ++  Frontier Corps need to be improved and the US should be spending more than $150 million a year on the eastern front. ++ The US should clearly support reconciliation, getting the military out of politics, a new tribal area policy, and above all, democracy in Pakistan.

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March 21, 2008 | The West and the Rise of New Russia

Nothing opposes Yeltsin’s and Putin’s terms in office more strikingly than their interpretation and understanding. ++ The West’s demonization of Putin is in stark contrast with high levels of consent and popularity at home. ++ The West should not expect Russia to follow a western agenda, impose its model or militarily contain the country, but let this emerging democracy take a course that suits

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March 13, 2008 | Iran: Unpredictable Parliamentary Elections

Owing to Iran’s unique political culture combining elements of democracy and autocracy, Ahmadinejad’s hard-liners will face pragmatic conservatives on March 14. ++ Despite the pressure of the paramilitary, economic mismanagement could enable the president’s adversaries to gain ground. ++ Iran may step away from revolutionary radicalism but it would still be too soon “to write Ahmadinejad’s

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March 12, 2008 | The Disastrous Results of Selective Modernization

The development of modern western democracies in the last century linked economic growth with political and cultural modernization. ++ Russia and China seem to demonstrate there is a viable authoritarian alternative to democracy and the rule of law in a free market economy. ++ But both countries’ economies are ridden by intensifying corruption and deficiencies that could soon be a threat to world

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March 10, 2008 | The Need for Western Engagement in Belarus

Lukashenko requires economic stability to maintain his power and popularity. ++ With Russia threatening to double once again the price of natural gas imports to the country, the president has been forced to take liberal measures and expects the EU in return to ease restrictions. ++ Engaging in Belarus is now a moral imperative before Russia gets a chance to exert more influence and impose its

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March 10, 2008 | Fulfilling the Functions of Statehood

The “Index of State Weakness in the Developing World” reveals that over a quarter of UN countries do not meet the requirements of statehood. ++ International policymakers’ primary task should be to formulate strategies to build capable and democratic states. ++ Targeted investment and intervention is required for weak states to succeed in meeting their peoples’ human, political, economic and

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December 31, 2007 | Economist: Only 13% of World's Population Live in Full Democracies

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of Democracy measures the current state of democracy worldwide based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

According to the index almost half the world’s countries are democracies of some sort but only a small percentage are

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June 4, 2007 | Turkey Struggles with the Nature of their Democracy, reports Robert Ruby

There is growing doubt among Turks that democracy can thrive within their country, reports Robert Ruby of the Pew Research Center. Pew Global Attitudes surveys indicate that, in conjunction with recent turmoil over presidential elections, concerns are increasing over the growing role of Islam in domestic politics. According to Ruby, the events of early May could intensify fears that mixing

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Rüdiger  Lentz
Rüdiger Lentz
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Should NATO intervene in Syria?



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