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.

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.

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 Ian Bremmer:

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

By Ian Bremmer
September 8, 2014

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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.

Eyewitness Views: From hope to horror in Tiananmen Square

By Alan Chin
May 29, 2014


Eyewitness View: From hope to horror in Tiananmen Square On Changan Avenue, a small crowd confronts the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Tiananmen Square after the army stormed the square and the surrounding area the night before. This is near the location a day later where "Tank Man" confronted and momentarily halted a column of the army's tanks leaving the square. (Alan Chin)June 4, 1989. In Chinese the reference is usually made with just the numbers “Six Four,” like in English, “9/11.” As the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen ...

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Seeking ‘good-enough-governance’ — not democracy

By Stephen D. Krasner
September 23, 2013

Only rarely have American leaders been able to reconcile the nation’s democratic values, material interest and national security.

Democracy emerges in sub-Saharan Africa

By Andrew Novak and Kevin Lees
August 21, 2013

The recent re-election of Zimbabwe’s 89-year old president Robert Mugabe, in office for 33 years, resembled a period not long ago when sham elections were the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. Peaceful transitions of power were almost unheard of.

Is America tipping toward a British system of government?

By Nicholas Wapshott
June 1, 2012

Sixty years ago in London, Queen Elizabeth was crowned in succession to her father, the now famously stammering chain-smoker George VI. For most Brits the queen’s Diamond Jubilee is a chance to celebrate her reign with street parties, fireworks, concerts, and pageants along the Thames. They will be toasting the woman who has so far presided over 12 prime ministers, including perhaps the greatest of them all, Winston Churchill.

Building a new future for Turkey

By Madeleine K. Albright and Stephen J. Hadley
May 15, 2012

The crisis in Syria and the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program have highlighted the renewed importance of one of the oldest and most enduring relationships of the United States: its alliance with Turkey. The U.S.-Turkey partnership was forged during the Korean conflict and the Cold War, and Washington and Ankara stood shoulder-to-shoulder to confront the Soviet challenge. Now, the two countries have an opportunity to work together to help shape the Middle East, ensure the stability of Iraq, contain Iranian ambitions, end the Assad regime in Syria and ensure reliable energy supplies to Europe.

Yemen needs an insurgent democracy

By Stefan Wolff
January 24, 2012

After months of uncertainty around whether Ali Abdullah Saleh has been sincere about stepping down from his post as Yemen’s president, Sunday brought confirmation that he has left the country to seek medical treatment in the United States. Under a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council with United Nations, United States and United Kingdom assistance, Saleh is barred from partaking in the Feb. 21 elections for an interim president. In exchange, he received immunity in an unamendable law — both nationally and internationally highly controversial — passed by Yemen’s parliament the day before his departure.