from The Great Debate:

Why democracy may have been just a passing phase

By John Lloyd
June 1, 2015

Russia's President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 8, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

from The Great Debate:

Secularism – not sensitivity – is the key to democracy

By John Lloyd
January 27, 2015

French Education and Research minister Vallaud-Belkacem in Paris

French Education and Research Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem attends a news conference at the the French prime minister's offices, in Paris, Jan. 22, 2015. France announced new measures last week aimed at helping schools combat radical Islam, racism and anti-Semitism in reaction to deadly Islamist attacks three weeks ago. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

from Breakingviews:

Protests made Hong Kong more hopeful, less certain

December 12, 2014

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from The Great Debate:

Despite the headlines, progress in Myanmar isn’t slipping away

By Jean-Marie Guehenno and Richard Horsey
November 19, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama and opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi hold a press conference after their meeting at her residence in Yangon

Is Myanmar’s reform effort going into reverse?

Not even close. Yet if international support for its political transition seriously weakens in the face of recent setbacks, the prophecies of Myanmar’s critics may be fulfilled. The international community needs to show staying power and accept that the road to reform is long.

from The Great Debate:

Elections were a wild party in the 1880s — that’s one reason why more people voted back then

By Donald P. Green
October 29, 2014

A man dressed as Uncle Sam drums up the crowd at an election campaign rally in Saginaw.

The United States has a low voter turnout by comparison to other Western democracies, and our turnout in midterm elections is especially abysmal, attracting roughly 40 percent of eligible voters to the polls.

from The Great Debate:

Being the ‘indispensable nation’ is killing American democracy

By Robert L. Borosage
October 20, 2014

U.S. military personnel take pictures of U.S. President Barack Obama as he speaks during visit to Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory in Baghdad

America -- proudly dubbed the “indispensable nation” by its national-security managers -- is now the entangled nation enmeshed in conflicts across the globe.

from Global Investing:

Measuring political risk in emerging markets

October 10, 2014

(Corrects to say EI Sturdza is UK investment firm, not Swiss)

Commerzbank analyst Simon Quijano-Evans recently analysed credit ratings for emerging market countries and concluded that there is a strong tendency to "under-rate" emerging economies - that is they are generally rated lower than developed market "equals" that have similar profiles of debt, investment or reform. The reason, according to Quijano-Evans, is that ratings assessments tend to be "blurred by political risk which is difficult to quantify and is usually higher in the developing world compared with richer peers.

from Ian Bremmer:

Chinese leader’s reforms are bad news for Hong Kong protesters

By Ian Bremmer
September 8, 2014


In 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong to China after some 150 years of colonial rule. In exchange, China agreed to a set of principles: Hong Kong would maintain its capitalist system for half a century, by which point its chief executive and members of the legislature would be elected by universal suffrage. As the thinking went, “one country, two systems” would suffice in the interim; Hong Kong and the Mainland would surely converge on democracy in the half-century to come.

from John Lloyd:

In clashes over Ukraine or Iraq, liberty must be defended

By John Lloyd
September 5, 2014


A few weeks after Winston Churchill became British prime minister in 1940, he had to tell the House of Commons that Britain had just suffered one of the worst military defeats in its history. He announced the setback with these words:

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Democracy is on the ropes. So what are we going to do about it?

By Nicholas Wapshott
June 17, 2014

child holds her father's hand at a polling station in Kabul

Democracy is taking a bashing. On almost every continent, attempts to extend the right of people to choose their own government is running into deep trouble. In Iraq, Egypt, Ukraine, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and many other countries, democracy is being overwhelmed by despotism and despair.