Political Development

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Snapshot,
Ralph H. Espach

The Peña Nieto government seems to be facing its worst crisis yet, one likely to persist as police clash with a small minority of protestors who attack property, set fires, and throw Molotov cocktails. The breadth of the public outrage, however, is uncertain, and the movement has no clearly defined, practical demands.

Snapshot,
Jed Ober

Afghanistan's new unity government is not a step forward in the country's political development. Without deeper reforms, the temporary measure will only worsen the country's democratic malaise.  

Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

As the West searches for an adequate policy response to Putin’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine, Western policymakers would do well to reread George F. Kennan’s famous “X” article, published in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs. Compelling then, Kennan’s case for containing Russia makes just as much sense now.

Snapshot,
David Schoenbaum

The opening to the West was announced almost inadvertently, just in time for the evening news, at what still passed for a routine press conference. Within hours, rivers of Trabis, the little cars with lawn mower engines that were an East German specialty, were flowing through the Wall. Crowds of West Berliners looked on, bemused as the dash for freedom morphed into a run on bananas.

Snapshot,
Kathryn Hochstetler

In her victory speech on Sunday night, Rousseff promised to reform politics, combat corruption, and rejuvenate the industrial economy. Most Brazilians, including her opponents' supporters, probably do want those things, but it will be even harder for Rousseff to deliver them in her second term than it was in the first.

Letter From,
Alina Polyakova

A militant nationalist and a crook walk into a bar. It might sound like the beginning of a clichéd joke, but in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, the characters are all too real, and the “bar” is Electoral District 217 in the country’s capital, Kiev.

Snapshot,
Rebecca Liao

The Fourth Plenum took a bureaucratic view of the judiciary, treating it as an ally to the regime in improving governance rather than as the people’s advocate against that regime.

Snapshot,
Intissar Fakir and Maati Monjib

Arab Spring–driven reforms might have seemed inconsequential when they were introduced in 2011. But they may be changing Morocco’s political system more than anticipated.

Snapshot,
Brian Klaas and Marcel Dirsus

On October 26, Tunisians will finally have a real and unrestricted choice at the polls. Other transitioning regimes in the Middle East and the world should take note: Democracy is not about exclusion, but about giving people a genuine choice—even, or especially, when it’s an uncomfortable one.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2014
Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, critics say postcommunist reforms have failed. But the evidence says otherwise. Transition states in Europe and Eurasia have become normal countries -- no worse, and sometimes better, than other states at comparable levels of development.

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