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Category Archives: Democracy and freedom

World Bank mustn’t say “democracy,” but “deploy troops” is OK

UPDATE: Wed, May 11: World Bank media chief David Theis responds (see end of comments section below)

I finally read the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report, Conflict, Security, and Development. It shed new light on an earlier discussion I had by email with World Bank Media Chief David Theis last month, which I reproduce here, and then I add a new letter I just sent to Mr. Theis.

To World Bank Media Chief David Theis, April…

Also posted in Aid debates | 20 Comments

Libya: Never say never again

News update Saturday 9 am: Western allies dither while Qaddafi invades last rebel stronghold. Was the agreement on the no-fly zone so easy because it would be too late and so wouldn’t actually happen?

BREAKING NEWS 2:30pm: Obama announces US will help enforce UN resolution on no-fly zone on Qaddafi: not alone but as part of European and Arab coalition, and with limited objective of protecting civilians.

Readers of this blog know that this author is…

Also posted in Human rights, In the news | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Er, Yes, Madam, Muslims do want liberty

There is a common view that Muslims don’t share the values of liberty and democracy, as expounded by, say, to take a random example, Michele Bachmann from a few years ago.

Do recent events vindicate those who had already argued there was a universal hunger for liberty? One of them was Michael Novak, who says today in a Wall Street Journal oped  (gated, sorry) today:

{There was} the slumbering yet restless desire for liberty

Also posted in Human rights, In the news, Language, Stereotypes | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

The Reciprocity Principle

Nick Kristof generously quoted a statement from an earlier blog post:

I don’t support autocracy in your society if I don’t want it in my society.

This could also apply to some other common themes of this post:

I won’t invade your country unless I want you to invade mine.

I won’t use exploitative photos of you for fund-raising unless I want you to use exploitative photos of me for fund-raising.

I won’t

Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Kristof on Ending Double Standards on Democracy

A crude stereotype lingers that some people — Arabs, Chinese and Africans — are incompatible with democracy.

Nick Kristof disagrees.

Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Toppling Qaddafi

Who was that madman ranting about his hallucinations on Libyan TV, desperately in need of an anger management intervention? Oops, that’s the ruler of the country. He has gotten even more ridiculously scary since our last post.

A small group of young people who have taken drugs have attacked police station like mice … However there is a small group of sick people that has infiltrated in cities that are circulating drugs and money.

This

Also posted in In the news, Trade | Tagged , | 23 Comments

A Presidents’ Day for Protesters

President’s Day is really a lame holiday.  But the protesters around the world are rescuing it. Here is my all-time favorite definition of democracy, from one of today’s honorees–Abraham Lincoln:

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.

The genius of the first sentence is reciprocity: democracy means I will not impose on anyone else anything I…

Tagged , | 14 Comments

Dictators v. Democracy: our Autocrat Unintentional Self-Parody Index (AUSPI)

Update 2pm Saturday Feb 19: more reports of protests today in Benghazi, and more killings by Qaddafi forces. Qaddafi strategy of cutting Libya off from intl media and Net seems to be working, as these heroic protesters are not getting much world attention.

UPDATE 4pm: Shaky reports of more protests and massacres out of Libya. This eloquent statement in the Guardian by a noted Libyan author:

I appeal to Colonel Gaddafi and his security forces:

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Abraham Lincoln in Egypt

Today the doubts begin on whether there will be a happy democratic outcome in Egypt. There are no guarantees.

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. His most famous words also addressed doubts about democracy. Could American democracy survive a civil war? Could it make a transition from half slave and half free to emancipation?

our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are

Also posted in History, Human rights, In the news | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Liberated Egyptians: you’re welcome!

Clive Crook’s blog notes the following story from Politico:

the Obama administration finally notched a foreign policy victory with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to resign and turn over power to top military officials…

“Great news for the administration/president,” said one senior Democratic official who asked not to be named. “People will remember, despite some fumbles yesterday, that the President played an excellent hand, walked the right line and that his statement last night

Also posted in Human rights, In the news | Tagged , | 10 Comments