Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights
The Indian economy is booming -- but the boom will last only as long as the vagaries of Indian democratic politics allow it to. Democracy and market reform are uneasily aligned in India today, and the additional reforms necessary to raise the lot of India's poor masses -- who have enormous voting clout -- may not garner a popular mandate at the ballot box. Although a long-term asset, democracy could prove to be a short-term headache for India's reformers.
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In the past decade, 12,000 Nepalis have died in an increasingly brutal civil war that pits a backward-looking monarchy and an abusive military against fanatical Maoist rebels. To help solve the crisis, the rest of the world must convince both sides that there is a third way.
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Conventional wisdom has long assumed that economic liberalization undermines repressive regimes. Recent events, however, suggest that savvy autocrats have learned how to cut the cord between growth and freedom, enjoying the benefits of the former without the risks of the latter. Washington and international lenders should take note.
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