Shock and strength

What makes a country stable? Political stability is a measure of the ability of a country and its government to withstand shock. Poland suffered a tremendous shock last weekend with news of the plane crash that killed the country’s president, his wife, several leading political, military and religious leaders, and more than one hero of ...

By , the president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media.
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

What makes a country stable?

Political stability is a measure of the ability of a country and its government to withstand shock. Poland suffered a tremendous shock last weekend with news of the plane crash that killed the country's president, his wife, several leading political, military and religious leaders, and more than one hero of the country's Soviet-era resistance movement.

Yet, despite the horror of the event and the pain it inflicted on Poles at home and abroad -- including on some who would never have voted for Lech Kaczynski -- no event could better have demonstrated the underlying strength and durability of Poland's political system.   

What makes a country stable?

Political stability is a measure of the ability of a country and its government to withstand shock. Poland suffered a tremendous shock last weekend with news of the plane crash that killed the country’s president, his wife, several leading political, military and religious leaders, and more than one hero of the country’s Soviet-era resistance movement.

Yet, despite the horror of the event and the pain it inflicted on Poles at home and abroad — including on some who would never have voted for Lech Kaczynski — no event could better have demonstrated the underlying strength and durability of Poland’s political system.   

The legitimacy of the transition of presidential power is beyond question. In accordance with the country’s constitution, speaker of the lower house of parliament Bronislaw Komorowski now serves as interim president. Poland’s next presidential election, scheduled for this fall, will take place even sooner. It was highly likely even before the crash killed Kaczynski and another candidate, Jerzy Szmajdzinski, that Komorowski would win. His Civic Platform party will probably quicken the pace of existing economic reforms.

So as we wait to see the details on the latest effort to stabilize Greece, to see if Kurmanbek Bakiyev will publicly accept that he is no longer president of the Kyrgyz Republic following his violent ouster last week, and to see if Thailand’s irresolute government, reluctant military and ailing king can figure out how to move increasingly aggressive protesters off Thailand’s streets, let’s give Poland its due. The country will mourn and move forward.

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group and author of The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? (Portfolio, May 2010)

Ian Bremmer is the president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media. He is also the host of the television show GZERO World With Ian Bremmer. Twitter: @ianbremmer

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