President Obama and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma met on November 14, 2014, in Daw Suu's home. They answered questions about Burmese elections set to take place in 2015, press freedom, and expectations for democractic transition and rule of law and human rights in the country, particuarly concerning the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar.
As prime minister, Haider al-Abadi could lead Iraq in a positive direction, but long-term stability in the war-torn country will require political concessions from all factions, explains expert Ned Parker.
Ever since an international coalition led by NATO forces helped topple the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, governance there has been in shambles. Recently the fighting among rival militias has escalated dramatically, and there is no political solution on the horizon.
Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick details the region's startling democratic regression, assesses the reasons behind this recent stagnation, examines the role of the United States, and offers recommendations for policy options to help support the foundations of democracy in Southeast Asia.
President Barack Obama spoke at the Palais Des Beaux Arts in Brussels on March 26, 2014. He spoke about the history of formation of democracies in Europe and the importance of maintaining European regional security and the sovereignty of individual countries. President Obama argued for the United States and other countries to support Ukraine and to isolate the Russian government after Russia's annexation of Crimea.
"It will be nearly impossible for observers to do a credible job under the present conditions in Egypt. And even if the referendum goes smoothly, it is not at all clear that the vote will make a meaningful contribution to getting Egypt back onto a democratic path. Observers and foreign governments, including the United States, would do well to make sure that their engagement and statements keep the focus on the big picture of Egypt's worrisome trajectory."
The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor produced this report. The preface states, "Pursuant to the Advancing Democratic Values Act of 2007, the Department of State has prepared this report on U.S. efforts to promote democracy and human rights in nondemocratic countries and countries undergoing democratic transitions worldwide."
If "democracy" is achieved when governments rule by consent through free and fair elections, then some of the world's largest Muslim nations are democratic: Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Turkey. In the Arab world, experiments to achieve democratic governance are underway in Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia, and are beginning in earnest in Egypt. Arguably, Pakistan has just witnessed its first democratic transition of power.
Egypt faces a cycle of instability, writes Joshua Kurlantzick, but it can break that rotation if it manages expectations in the early years of emerging democracy and takes lessons from Nelson Mandela's post-apartheid South Africa and Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva's Brazil.
As countries from Libya to Tunisia to Myanmar navigate complex paths to democracy, a new CFR book offers insights and recommendations from political and economic transitions that have unfolded in recent decades. "By understanding the trade-offs and critical economic and policy decisions that transitioning countries have faced in the past, policymakers can make smarter choices to improve the chances of successful democratization in states undergoing transitions today," write Isobel Coleman, CFR senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, and Terra Lawson-Remer, CFR fellow, in Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions.
John Campbell, Isobel Coleman, and Terra Lawson-Remer discuss their new Council on Foreign Relations book, Pathways to Freedom, which offers an authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help.
With concise historical analysis and forward-looking prescriptions, Pathways to Freedom offers an authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »