Vote of Confidence: The United States Mission After the Afghan Elections

Despite threats from the Taliban and fears of corruption, Afghanistan’s elections went forward without significant incident on April 5. With President Hamid Karzai constitutionally barred from seeking reelection, new candidates such as Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and Zalmai Rassoul have been jockeying for position over the past several months.  The election and ensuing transfer … Read more

Ukraine Boils Over: Media Diet

The Ukraine is boiling over. The Maidan, the Tahrir Square of Kiev, is a war zone. The battle lines are constantly being redrawn, and the conflict has already spread beyond the capital, even into traditionally Russian strongholds. But you might miss the rapidly unfolding human drama if you follow only American news sources. Here’s your … Read more

Fires on the Mountains

Fires on the Mountains

Last week, seven Tibetans set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule and political oppression.  These self-immolations have increased in frequency immediately before and during the weeklong Communist Party’s 18th National Congress, during which party chairman and president Hu Jintao will cede his posts to his successor, Xi Jinping. A few statistics stand out when one … Read more

Examining the Indonesian Model

Thousands of rioters poured into the streets of the nation’s capital. They were tired of their government’s ineffectiveness in solving their country’s dire economic situation. They demanded political rights that had been stifled for decades. They were sick of the corruption that had seeped into the ruling party.  They were ready for change. Their calls … Read more

A New Beginning for Georgia

At first glance, the prospective new Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, seems to be a nightmarish version of Mitt Romney.  With a net worth of $6.4 billion, he is the richest man in the entire country, and ranks 153rd on Forbes’ billionaires list.  His estates house his exotic animal collections, which include zebras, kangaroos, … Read more

Mexico’s PRI: Repeating History or Looking Forward?

71 years.  Since the PRI recaptured the presidency earlier this summer, news media outlets have reminded observers of the 71 years (1929-2000) that el tricolor dominated the Mexican political landscape through vote-buying and rigged elections.  While understanding those 71 years is crucial to contextualizing Mexico’s contemporary politics, remembering the last twelve years, the years when a … Read more

Reflections on the Revolution in Syria

The Arab Spring and the ongoing conflict in Syria have prompted discussions of authority, democracy and legitimate governance. The many proponents of democratization appeal to human rights as established in international law to further their cause. That is, given that international law affords every person certain inalienable rights, such as freedom of speech and conscience, … Read more

A Reality Check for Western Liberalism

Freedom House, a Washington-based NGO, recently released its annual Freedom in the World Report, reviewing the civil rights and liberties records of political regimes around the world.  In a year that many Westerners would like to remember as a time of increasing liberalism, the data is surprisingly negative.  Despite the Arab Spring, the removal or … Read more

Nigeria: The Next African Problem

Ethnic tension in Nigeria may become Africa’s next big problem with the results of the 2011 presidential election. Nigeria made major strides in the presidential election held on April 16th. In comparison to 2007’s disaster election that international pundits claimed was “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world,” the 2011 election was … Read more