The desire for freedom and self-government is written in human hearts everywhere; in this there can be no "clash of civilizations." Claims that Islam is inherently hostile to democracy represent an unwarranted surrender to fundamentalist arguments; we should engage with a broad spectrum of Muslim groups, but without compromising our commitment to freedom and democracy.
Volume 17, Issue 3
Despite a significant expansion of citizenship over the last few decades, the Andean nations face a severe crisis of democratic representation. The root of the problem lies not in the mechanisms of representation but in poor state performance.
Reforming national intelligence communities is a critical, if often overlooked, task facing democratizing countries. Happily, intelligence agencies brought under civilian, democratic control may also becomes better at their core job of protecting free nations from deadly threats.
On the surface, intelligence-sector reform since the fall of apartheid has been a model of success, but the growing politicization of security-sector forces by the ruling ANC may pose a threat to the consolidation of South Africa's young democracy.
As Taiwan has slowly democratized, so has its intelligence and security system been transformed—yet issues of national identity and the conflict with China present continuing challenges.
Much like other institutions in post-Soviet Russia, the intelligence and security services have yet to make a transition to real democratic control, and remain infused with the authoritarian tendencies of their Soviet predecessors.
Successfully fighting corruption in developing and postcommunist countries requires far more than instituting best practices from advanced democracies. Corruption first must be properly diagnosed; in some cases it can be effectively treated only by attacking the distribution of power itself.
By graciously accepting the defeat of a constitutional amendment that would have enabled him to seek a third term, President Olusegun Obasanjo has solidified his contribution to Nigerian democracy, but much remains to be done.
The Palestinian Elections
By giving Hamas a parliamentary majority, Palestinian voters were neither endorsing extremism nor rejecting the peace process. Other Palestinian institutions have the potential to restrain Hamas, but there is a risk that it will turn to Iran or Syria for help.
January’s remarkably free and fair parliamentary elections broke the PLO’s longstanding monopoly over Palestinian politics. Given Fatah’s disarray and the difficulties facing Hamas, there is now a window of opportunity for a third and avowedly liberal-democratic option to emerge.
Authoritarian regimes around the world hold elections and manipulate them every step of the way. How do we understand and work around the challenges these regimes pose to what should be a clean and democratic electoral process?
The ruling African National Congress has been an overwhelming presence in the politics of post-apartheid South Africa. The country's dominant-party system, despite its dangers, may be the strongest buttress for democracy.
A review of Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy, by Moisés Naím.
A review of recent elections in Belarus, Benin, Chad, Columbia, Comoros, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Fiji, Haiti, Hungary, Peru, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Thailand, and Ukraine.
Excerpts from Akbar Ganji's June 5 acceptance speech for the annually awarded Golden Pen Award of the World Association of Newspapers. Ganji is a prominent Iranian dissident and journalist, who was released in March after a five-year prison term; his essay was featured in the October 2005 issue. Excerpts from a speech by Nigeria's president…