The experience of “bandit capitalism” or “tyrant capitalism” in postcommunist societies shows that markets cannot work properly without a community of trust and mutual respect. Such a community can be achieved only where there is a rule of law, applied by able and independent judges.
Volume 11, Issue 3
Russia Under Putin
Does the election of Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president represent a fundamental turn away from democracy or merely a temporary setback? Although Putin’s apparent indifference to democracy is worrisome, it would be premature to conclude that democracy is lost in Russia.
The analogy with feudalism helps us understand the baffling changes that unexpectedly appeared during the transition away from communist rule.
Vladimir Putin soon must make a fundamental choice: whether to hold on to monolithic power or to adopt a reformist course that could leave him at the center of a battle without any guarantee of success.
The debate over Russia’s likely course of development under Putin has paid surprisingly little attention to his openly stated goal of reintegrating Russia with other former Soviet republics.
A specter is haunting China-the specter of classical liberalism.
Arabs and Democracy
Democracy is spreading everywhere except in the Arab world. Arab elections are an immense masquerade. Corrupt dictatorships seek to stifle freedom of thought and to control the flow of information.
Many observers regarded 1999 as a year of progress for democracy in the Arab world. There is reason to doubt, however, whether any meaningful change has really occurred.
While despotic Arab regimes may seem stable, change is brewing beneath the surface. A new era is emerging in which the state will be forced to retreat before a vibrant civil society.
Pakistan’s descent into authoritarian rule starkly depicts the “triple crisis of governance” that threatens many third-wave democracies. If these problems of governance are not addressed, a new “reverse wave” of democratization could be imminent.
The promotion of democracy in Africa has become the dominant theme of South Africa’s foreign policy. Yet the dilemmas this policy has confronted in practice have forced the government to alter its approach.
One of the greatest obstacles to democratic consolidation in Turkey has been the country's treatment of its Kurdish citizens. The root of the problem lies in the very nature of the Turkish state, which confuses unity with uniformity.
In recent years several Westminster-style parliamentary democracies have considered cutting their ties with the British monarchy and becoming republics. The difficulties involved in trying to make such a shift were on full display in Australia.
As the experience of Latin America makes clear, a strong civil society is not necessarily a democratic one. Democratic deficits within civil society jeopardize its ability to perform its proper social functions.
Books in Review
In The Logic of Japanese Politics, Gerald Curtis portrays the political history of Japan in the 1990s in its full complexity.
The (Un)Rule of Law and the Underprivileged in Latin America offers a harsh appraisal of the region’s legal and justice systems.