A few years ago, Europe’s most important intergovernmental human-rights institution, the Council of Europe, crossed over to the dark side. Like Dorian Gray, the dandy in Oscar Wilde’s story of moral decay, it sold its soul. And as with Dorian Gray, who retained his good looks, the inner decay of the Council of Europe remains hidden from view.
Volume 26, Issue 3
Rwanda under Paul Kagame has been hailed for its visionary leadership, economic progress, and reforms in education, health, and agriculture. Yet the regime’s autocratic rule, human-rights abuses, persecution of the Hutu majority, and growing inequality point to an ominous future.
The great achievements of Hungary’s 1989–90 transition—including democracy, rule of law, market-oriented reform, and pluralism in intellectual life—are being dismantled as the world looks the other way.
Authoritarianism Goes Global
Favored by global conditions that lean their way, authoritarians have been busy over the last decade coming up with new and inventive ways to thwart the global advance of democracy and human rights.
Rosy assumptions once held that the Internet would inevitably undermine unfree regimes. A look around the world today, however, indicates that something very different and far more disturbing is going on.
Nonpartisan election monitoring has helped to foster democratization over the last thirty years, but now dictators are trying to sabotage it, often by spreading lies and confusion.
In a surprising turn of events, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari was able to outpoll incumbent Goodluck Jonathan—and the latter peacefully acknowledged his defeat.
Europe in the Middle Ages was hardly democratic, but it did have law-based institutions that could and did stay the hands of kings, laying a crucial basis for future state-building and democracy-building alike.
It is fine to acknowledge the importance of law-based rule to the eventual rise of modern democracy, but we must not overlook the even greater contribution of the idea of equality.
The post–post-Mao era has now begun. The reforms that brought economic growth and greater openness to China are being unwound, while an assertive new leader strikes off in a populist and nationalist direction.
How are trends in global democratization likely to be shaped by the distribution of such key structural factors as income, ethnic or religious diversity, and the quality of the state?
Why do significant numbers of people, after gaining the right to choose their leaders via free and fair elections, vote for political parties with deep roots in dictatorship, and how do such parties affect the consolidation of democracy?
A review of The Nature of Asian Politics by Bruce Gilley.
Reports on elections in Benin, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, and Turkey.
Excerpts from: Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s inaugural address; a speech given by Leon Wieseltier honoring the slain Russian opposition politician and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov; the conclusion of the report “Putin.War”; Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova's letter from prison.