Democracy Promotion | Wilson Center

Democracy Promotion

Wave of Protests Spreads to Scandal-Weary Honduras and Guatemala

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The corruption scandals make it “just unavoidable that it’s going to make people skeptical about sending large amounts to Central America,” said Eric L. Olson, an analyst at the Wilson Institute, a Washington research organization, who follows the region closely.

America's Shocking Ignorance of Afghanistan

In 1815, Mountstuart Elphinstone, the first British ambassador dispatched to the court of the Afghan shah in 1809, published an abridged version of his eighty-eight volumes of notes from the mission. The result was the two-volume An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul. Two hundred years later, foreign understandings of the modern Afghan state and its inhabitants have been largely molded by this book.

The Mexico Institute's 2015 Elections Guide

Sarajevo Roses, Tahrir Protests & Djerbahood: Injustice, Youth & Resilience

Within the past quarter century, two tectonic shifts have shaken international affairs: the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the uprisings across the Arab world in 2011. These groundbreaking changes were accompanied by violence and conflict, exemplified by the wars in the former Yugoslavia and state repression across several Arab countries. Dealing with post-conflict and post-authoritarian injustice in these contexts poses a number of challenges.

A Warning in Iran’s Closed-Door Trial of Reporter Jason Rezaian

The trial of Jason Rezaian opened Tuesday, 10 months after the Iranian-American Washington Post correspondent was arrested, and adjourned without indication of when proceedings might continue. Mr. Rezaian, who has been held in Evin Prison since last summer, is accused of espionage and cooperating with a foreign government.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about his trial:

Will Putin Gamble All On A Broader Ukraine Invasion?

Westerners strain to predict Moscow's next moves in Ukraine, and elsewhere.

President Vladimir Putin may think that Russia can weather Western reactions if he decides to move beyond the occupied part of eastern Ukraine, perhaps seeking to forge a land bridge between Russia and Crimea.

But will he consider economic and political constraints, akin to those that hastened the fall of the USSR after its intervention in Afghanistan?

A Kremlin decision to widen its assault in Ukraine might not be irrational. But would it be imprudent? This question is more complex.

Middle East Realities That Challenge Obama’s Nuclear Deal With Iran

The emerging Iran deal that the Obama administration contends is comprehensive and definitive contains so many uncertainties, including those regarding Iran’s future nuclear weapons aspirations, that it might well turn out to be an extended interim accord.

This underscores an issue with a few things Secretary of State John Kerry recently said while defending the Iran deal–remarks that I presume he’d like to take back:

To Govern

The complexity of Mexico’s political life, the violence, and the corruption, but above all the absence of a real debate on domestic problems, has generated a thousand and one diagnoses on the nature of our dilemmas. It would appear obvious that our essential problem is not corruption, violence or criminality, but the absence of a system of functional government: that is, the three levels of government and the three branches of government. This is not a matter of guilt, of the good ones or the bad ones, but rather of essence. The question is how Mexico is going to be governed.

Obama's Arab Security Strategy: An Old Doctrine Gets Put to the Test in Yemen

Twenty-five years ago, in the wake of the Gulf War, the first Bush administration sketched out a plan for the security of its Arab partners. The original had Iraq in mind as the aggressor. Today, a version of that plan is finally seeing the light of day. But this time, Iran is the focus and the region is embroiled in a civil war in Yemen.

Transparency and the Rule of Law Series

Perhaps the greatest challenge Mexico is facing is building a genuine Rule of Law. The situation is currently characterized by a low level of trust in the authorities, a judicial system in transition to oral trials, and asymmetric institutional development between different levels of governments. In this context, the country has important historical challenges, such as improving processes that lead to effective protection of human rights, fighting corruption, and strengthening a system of transparency and accountability.

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