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Burma

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Could Zimbabwe Break a Recurring Pattern of Corruption?

Even as Zimbabweans took to the streets to celebrate Robert Mugabe’s ouster after 37 years, experienced politicians in the country were wary of what might come next. “We have removed a tyrant,” former minister of education David Coltart said, “but not yet a tyranny.” Mugabe, 93, was recently forced out as president by military commanders … Continue reading

Saving Burma’s Rohingya

Now that Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has declared the oppression of Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic minority “ethnic cleansing,” the UN’s official Responsibility to Protect mechanism should be triggered to save Rohingya from continued persecution and death. World order must not dither. Since what is happening in Myanmar has been designated as “ethnic … Continue reading

Confronting Drugs, Crime, and Warfare in Africa

Drug smuggling and its profits help significantly to fuel Africa’s wars as criminal enterprises. Terrorists frequently build drug-driven hybrid organizations to finance their operations and to reap illicit rents. In Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, conflict is strongly tied to drug trafficking by syndicates allied to al-Qaeda–associated insurgents. The … Continue reading

Crushing Ivory and Crushing Poaching

China’s crushing of 6.1 metric tons of illegal ivory early in January may do more to reduce poaching in Africa than almost any other conceivable law enforcement or investigative initiative now available in either Africa or Asia. By far the world’s largest market for the tusks of African elephants – ivory – and for rhinoceros … Continue reading

Failed and Weak States Defined

A failed state is a country with a government that cannot or will not deliver essential political goods (public services) to its citizens. The state, usually not yet a nation-state, may hold a seat in the United Nations and function as a sovereign entity in regional and world politics, but as far as most of … Continue reading

Governance Trumps Democracy

            Everyone wants and believes in democracy. Those of us who study democracy affirm its utility in the making and maintaining of modern nation-states. Some of our kind attempt to re-examine its roots, to fine-tune its applicability to various national situations and circumstances, and to advocate improved versions, such as deliberative democracy.[1] Even so, there … Continue reading

Odious States, Humanitarian Responses

            Repressive, odious, nation-states eventually implode. That is at least one of the significant messages of the Arab spring, summer, and autumn of 2011.  But such states – the worst of the worst — never implode neatly, effortlessly, or, in the most difficult cases, without external assistance.  How to calibrate that external assistance so that … Continue reading

Aung San Suu Kyi for Burma’s Foreign Minister

  “We hope that this will be the beginning of a new era,” said Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after her National League for Democracy (NLD) won forty-three of forty-five contested parliamentary by-elections earlier this week. She also called on “all parties” – that is, the military junta and President Thein Sein who … Continue reading