Foreign Policy Blogs

Democracy Promotion

Myanmar checkup

Myanmar checkup

When we last left Myanmar in May, former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy supporters joined the country’s parliament, the government of President Thein Sein instituted some democratic forms, and there were high hopes that freedom was on its way. Yet the government waged a bitter guerilla war against […]

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Corruption colors upcoming Venezuela presidential election

Corruption colors upcoming Venezuela presidential election

Mitt Romney isn’t the only presidential candidate having to answer for a controversial event caught on video. The presidential election in Venezuela will take place on October 7, 2012 and corruption is becoming that race’s primary issue. When Venezuelans go to the polls in less than a month (they will vote using an electronic system […]

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Time to Reflect on the Price of Freedom

Time to Reflect on the Price of Freedom

Sometimes you have to do quite a bit of searching to find a good topic for an article. Sometimes the topic finds you. Since my blog is about democracy, I would be remiss if I did not mention the events that transpired on the evening of Sept. 11, 2012 in Libya. As are most, I […]

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How coal is putting stranglehold on Indian politics

How coal is putting stranglehold on Indian politics

A scandal roiling India’s multi-billion dollar coal industry has made its way into the country’s parliament. A recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General accuses the government of giving out coal mining contracts to certain organizations using questionable accounting practices. By the report, India has lost out on $34 billion it should have collected […]

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A tale of two African democracies

A tale of two African democracies

After recently covering Ethiopia (here and here), I thought I’d stay in Africa for this article. I want to look at two nations with a wide space between them in terms of geography, culture, political ideology and democracy (i.e., government) itself. Basically, they’re as far apart from each other as you can be in Africa, […]

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Updates on leadership in Romania, Ethiopia

Updates on leadership in Romania, Ethiopia

Recently, important new developments have occurred in Romania and Ethiopia in relation to topics I have recently written about: the impeachment of Romanian President Traian Basescu, and mysterious disappearance of Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi. Here’s a rundown of the aftermath of those stories. The future of democracy in both nations appears unclear. Romania On Aug. […]

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The Question of Democracy in Ethiopia

The Question of Democracy in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, the second-most populous country on the African continent (behind only Nigeria), is looked to as a relatively strong and stable presence in a volatile region. Its cooperation is vital to security concerns in the region, especially as a barrier to the spread of radical Islamism and terrorism from neighboring Somalia. The U.S. has collaborated […]

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How great it is when what you expect to happen, happens

How great it is when what you expect to happen, happens

So often the news, and commentary on it, focuses on when things go wrong. Things going wrong usually involve drama and confrontation, which makes for interesting stories. I am have been guilty of contributing to this trend myself in commenting on when democracy goes wrong, i.e., election fraud and impeachments. But recently I was reminded […]

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Concerns over democratic progress in Romania and Bulgaria

Concerns over democratic progress in Romania and Bulgaria

One of my primary interests regarding government is how countries transition to democracy from another form of rule, and why some places seem to have more success with this than others. For countries formerly under the influence of the Soviet Union, some have seen democracy establish a strong foothold, whereas others face a constant struggle […]

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U.S. Financial Support for Democratic Transition in the Middle East

U.S. Financial Support for Democratic Transition in the Middle East

Currently, a key question for U.S. policymakers is how to engage with and/or support new governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. For those of you interested in the topic of U.S. foreign assistance to the Middle East, I strongly recommend a new Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) paper, The Federal Budget and Appropriations for […]

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In Case You Missed It: A State Department Program for Leaders in New Democracies

In Case You Missed It: A State Department Program for Leaders in New Democracies

This week, the State Department held a “virtual ribbon cutting” for a new initiative, Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND). LEND will help leaders in fledgling democracies connect with leaders who have experienced democratic transition in their own countries. As Voice of America reports, the initiative will facilitate conversations between leaders “by leveraging voice, video and […]

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Romanian Parliament Impeaches President

Romanian Parliament Impeaches President

  It appears Paraguay (as I covered last month) is not the only country embroiled in an impeachment scandal. Last Friday July 6 Romania’s parliament voted to impeach President Traian Basescu, who has violated the Constitution and acted as a dictator according to opponents (note: all news-related information and quotes in this article derive from […]

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Election Logistics in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia

Election Logistics in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia

While much of what is immediately important about a democratic election is whether it was sufficiently free from corruption and interference for voters to decide the outcome, the devil is sometimes in the details. Seemingly minor bureaucratic and logistical concerns can threaten the value of an otherwise legitimate democratic exercise. Even in the United States, […]

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On Eve of Mexican Election, Government Uncertainty Remains

On Eve of Mexican Election, Government Uncertainty Remains

I want to provide an update on my story about Mexico’s presidential election, which takes place today, July 1. It seems this election is as much a referendum on democracy and the openness of the Mexican political system itself as it is about any one candidate. After 12 years of struggle to move Mexico forward under […]

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Democracy Upheaval in Paraguay

Democracy Upheaval in Paraguay

Egypt is getting most of the headlines this week for its historic and dramatic change in leadership. But it is not the only country testing the strength of its democracy. Last Friday (June 22), the legislature of Paraguay removed President Fernando Lugo from office following an impeachment trial. Lugo referred to the act as an […]

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