East Timor

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Response,
Agio Pereira

Over the years, more than a few armchair critics have prognosticated the demise of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor. But the nation builders themselves can't indulge notions of failure.

Essay, Jul/Aug 2000
James Traub

The world's newest country has become the U.N.'s pet project: an experiment in "nation-building." With its resilient political culture, East Timor is unusually well suited to the project. But the U.N. is finding that governing is harder than separating warring parties -- especially when the country has been razed to the ground. And popular resentment is mounting. Rebuilding East Timor physically will be the easy part. Creating a democracy from scratch will be far more difficult.

Essay, May/Jun 2000
Donald K. Emmerson

Did East Timor's departure start the dominoes tumbling? Will this vast, multiethnic archipelago fall apart? Not likely. A hard look at Indonesia's main candidates for secession reveals that they have little in common with East Timor and even less with each other. The provinces remain Jakarta's to lose. If the capital plays its cards right, curbs the army's abuses, and accommodates legitimate local goals, the center will indeed hold.

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