Subject: Ethnic conflict

Free

January 2018, Volume 29, Issue 1

Burma: Suu Kyi’s Missteps

Despite high hopes for progress toward democracy, the military’s power remains stubbornly entrenched, while Aung San Suu Kyi seems to lack the skills to run the government effectively.

January 2017, Volume 28, Issue 1

The Never-Boring Balkans: The Elections of 2016

Once Europe’s most painful “problem” area, the Balkans have managed to make strides toward stability, democracy, and integration into the West over the last fifteen or so years. But Moscow is becoming increasingly active in the region, and the durability of these gains should not be taken for granted.

Free

April 2016, Volume 27, Issue 2

Burma Votes for Change: The Challenges Ahead

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept Burma’s November 2015 elections. Will the new NLD-led government be able to live up to high expectations that it will deliver better governance, national reconciliation, and some form of federalism?

Free

July 2015, Volume 26, Issue 3

Rwanda: Progress or Powder Keg?

Rwanda under Paul Kagame has been hailed for its visionary leadership, economic progress, and reforms in education, health, and agriculture. Yet the regime’s autocratic rule, human-rights abuses, persecution of the Hutu majority, and growing inequality point to an ominous future.

January 2015, Volume 26, Issue 1

India, Sri Lanka, and the Majoritarian Danger

Does the electoral victory of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party signal that the world’s largest democracy may be following Sri Lanka toward a politics where the will of the majority is exalted above minority rights?

Free

April 2014, Volume 25, Issue 2

Ethnic Power Sharing: Three Big Problems

In severely divided societies, ethnic cleavages tend to produce ethnic parties and ethnic voting. Power-sharing institutions can ameliorate this problem, but attempts to establish such institutions, whether based on a consociational or a centripetal model, face formidable difficulties.

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

The Ethnocracy Trap

A political system in which power is formally divided among ethnic or sectarian groups may seem like a good idea in conflict-ridden societies, but it bears a high price and makes true democratic transition harder to achieve.

April 2012, Volume 23, Issue 2

Ballots, Bullets, and the Bottom Billion

Does recourse to the ballot box spur violence and instability in the world’s poorest countries? Despite the worries of modernization theorists such as Paul Collier, the evidence indicates that, over time, elections are not associated with higher levels of political violence.

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Afghanistan: An Election Gone Awry

The 2009 vote for the presidency and local councils was marred by fraud, provoking a political crisis and casting a deep shadow over upcoming parliamentary elections. The Afghan experience calls into question whether voting should occur before other essential reforms are in place.

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Iraq: A Vote Against Sectarianism

Although many Iraqi parties continue to be organized along religious or ethnic lines, both the tone and the results of the 2010 parliamentary election campaign show that most Iraqi voters prefer a broader national agenda over narrow sectarian appeals.

Free

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq

After almost ten years of complex and costly efforts to build democracy in these two countries, where do things stand? What lay behind the critical choices that shaped events in these places, and what are their current prospects for success?

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

The Rise of “State-Nations”

Must every state be a nation and every nation a state? Or should we look instead to the example of countries such as India, where one state holds together a congeries of “national” groups and cultures in a single and wisely conceived federal republic?

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Ukraine: The Role of Regionalism

Although Ukraine’s regional divisions are often thought to be detrimental to state-building and democratization, they have in fact been a source of strength and helped to prevent tilts to the political extremes.

Free

April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Democracy and Deep Divides

How do democracies deal with the deep divisions created by race, ethnicity, religion, and language? The cases of Canada, India, and the United States show that democratic institutions—notably, competitive elections and independent judiciaries—can bridge divides and build stability, but they must find a way to manage the tension between individual and group equality.

Free

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

Malaysia’s Electoral Upheaval

In March 2008, Malaysian voters dealt the long-ruling National Front coalition an enormous shock—pushing that party closer to losing power than it has ever been in Malaysia’s entire history as an independent country.  

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

A New Look at Ethnicity and Democratization

Conventional scholarly wisdom holds that ethnic diversity within a given society generally dims democracy’s prospects. Careful reflection on the experience of many post-Soviet states, however, suggests that this need not be so.

January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Sierra Leone: A Vote for Better Governance

Five years after the close of a horrifying civil war, Sierra Leone held the freest elections in its history. Voters turned out the party that had overseen the war's end, blaming it for having mishandled governance since then.

April 2007, Volume 18, Issue 2

Voting for Change in the DRC

The holding of competitive elections in this vast, strife-torn country must count as a significant achievement, even though voters signaled their disaffection with the entire array of political elites that had been ruling them.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

The Persistence of Arab Authoritarianism

The lack of democracy in the Arab world is a problem that goes far beyond the absence of competitive elections. This lack must be traced not to religion or culture, but to adverse historical and geostrategic circumstances.

July 2004, Volume 15, Issue 3

Crafting a Constitution for Afghanistan

As 2004 began, Afghanistan approved a new constitution that represents a key step forward in its political reconstruction. But it is not yet clear whether this new constitution will enable the country to surmount the many challenges that lie ahead.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

Tibet: The Exiles’ Journey

Almost a half-century after being forced from their homeland, Tibetans abroad, led by the Dalai Lama, have democratized their institutions in hopes that they may one day form the basis for a free and self-governing Tibet.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Russia Under Putin: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

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.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

The Kurdish Question in Turkey

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.