The impulse to have crimes against humanity investigated and punished, like the impulse behind “truth and reconciliation” commissions, is understandable. But legalism cannot supersede the hard and messy work of politics.
Volume 26, Issue 2
The Authoritarian Resurgence
Even if Vladimir Putin were to lose his grip on office, the “Russian system” might only wind up exchanging one form of personalized power for another in its endless search for self-perpetuation.
Why do some hybrid regimes remain stable over time, while others become more authoritarian? Venezuela’s autocratic turn has been driven by the ruling party’s declining electoral fortunes and by a foreign policy that has shielded it from international scrutiny.
Iran’s authoritarianism is more flexible and more durable than its detractors would hope, yet more fragile and endangered than its defenders claim.
The Iranian regime has sought to recast conventional principles of human rights and political participation by forging alliances with like-minded regimes and by broadcasting its narrative to an international audience.
Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth sustains the antidemocratic policies that a nervous royal regime uses to defend against the threats and problems that confront it.
Burma’s troubled transition is imperiled by the reluctance of the military to loosen its grip. What lessons can the Burmese learn from other East Asian countries that have emerged from military rule?
Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement
China has gone back on its well-documented vow (and solemn treaty obligation) to allow Hong Kong genuine universal suffrage. Abrogated commitments and fake democracy are not the path to a thriving Hong Kong that feels at home within the People’s Republic of China.
The demonstrations of late 2014 captured the world’s attention with their scale, passion, and resourcefulness, but in the end were unable to move dug-in local and national authorities. Yet time is still on the side of the demonstrators.
In a year marked by escalating terrorism, the use of more brutal repression by authoritarian regimes, and Russia’s annexation of a neighboring country’s territory, the state of freedom worsened significantly in nearly every part of the world.
Although elections take place on schedule in Mozambique, they are of dubious quality, and the most recent one was held amid an uneasy peace following renewed outbursts of civil strife. Major new gas and mineral finds promise a shot at greater prosperity, but also hold the threat of a “resource curse.”
East Asia’s millennials have grown up in an age of rapid socioeconomic progress, allowing them to become better educated, more urbanized, and more technologically connected than previous generations. Will they use their collective power to become agents of democratic change?
A review of Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha.
A review of Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton.
Reports on elections in Comoros, Croatia, El Salvador, Estonia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and Zambia.
Excerpts from: newly elected Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign manifesto; Newsweek Polska's interview with Boris Nemtsov; opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's statement of innocence issued after the Federal Court of Malaysia upheld his conviction and sentence; a statement issued by UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai.