A powerful “salafist” public norm has taken root in the Arab world, becoming the main symbol of resistance to Westernization. At the same time, however, new cultural forces in the private domain are promoting a dynamic of secularization.
Volume 22, Issue 1
The Impact of the Economic Crisis
As an analysis of recent electoral results shows, the world’s emerging democracies are weathering the global economic crisis surprisingly well. Yet they remain under an even sharper threat from their own failures to deliver good governance.
The financial crisis did not deal a fatal blow to any democracies, but it did hasten an erosion of the influence of the West. In the future, the balance of power among competing regime types may be decided by the emerging-market democracies.
Striking the right balance between freedom and security is hard, especially in Latin America. Hybrid forces combining military and police elements may be the best means for meeting security challenges without imperiling freedom.
For the first time ever in the history of Hong Kong, local democratic leaders and Chinese officials have forged a pact on limited democratic reforms. That may have marked a step forward for the cause of democracy in Hong Kong, but it has also led to a sharp split in the democratic camp.
In most Arab countries, Islamist groups are the only ones with the popular support needed to win free and fair elections. Yet Islamist parties have shown an ambivalence about and in some cases even an aversion to seeking power via the ballot box.
Why are peacebuilding operations rarely able to establish postconflict democracies, and are there other strategies that would yield more successes?
African politics is often characterized as a realm of “informality,” but formal rules and institutions actually loom large, especially with regard to overweening executive power and the reforms that may help to rein it in.
The left-right ideological divide has begun to narrow in Latin America as citizens and leaders increasingly choose a pragmatic approach to politics and embrace the rules of the democratic game.
Hugo Chávez has been running a bounded competitive-authoritarian regime for some time, but its ability to compete is now slipping. Will this tend to make it less authoritarian—or even more so?
Often thought of as a “nascent” democracy, Colombia actually has longstanding democratic institutions. In 2010, they were effective in determining who would succeed a highly popular, two-term president.
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, is best known for his eloquent and incisive essays. Two of them are featured here: “Can It Be That the Chinese People Deserve Only ‘Party-Led Democracy’?” and “Changing the Regime by Changing Society.”
A review of Lonely Power: Why Russia Has Failed to Become the West and the West Is Weary of Russia by Lilia Shevtsova.
Reports on elections in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, Haiti, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Tanzania, Tonga, Venezuela.
Excerpts from: portions of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's closing statement at his fraud trial on 10 November 2010; the Casablanca Call for Democracy and Human Rights; an open letter written by two dozen former officials of the People’s Republic of China Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress; a UN resolution establishing the special rapporteur on freedom…