Transitions

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, September 28, 2012

In a remarkable interview with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Nazila Fathi asks Iran’s leading human rights activist why she believes that an attack on Iran would strengthen the mullahs and undermine democratic aspirations. Mark James Russell explores how South Korean popular culture has been giving the country’s exports a brand name bump in the developing ...

Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

In a remarkable interview with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Nazila Fathi asks Iran’s leading human rights activist why she believes that an attack on Iran would strengthen the mullahs and undermine democratic aspirations.

Mark James Russell explores how South Korean popular culture has been giving the country’s exports a brand name bump in the developing world.

Looking ahead to next week’s parliamentary election in Georgia, political scientist Scott Radnitz argues that having two political machines contending for power is better than one. This week’s case study from Princeton’s Innovations for Successful Societies offers an in-depth look at one of President Saakashvili’s signature reforms.

Juan Nagel offers a snapshot of the chaotic run-up to next month’s presidential election in Venezuela, while Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez unravels the mystery behind "undecided" voters.

Christian Caryl makes the case that Aung San Suu Kyi should not be immune to criticism.

Roger Bate urges the FDA to take regulating internationally sourced pharmaceuticals more seriously.

Mohamed El Dahshan takes aim at the seemingly archaic Egyptian economic policy.

Endy Bayuni contrasts the various Indonesian views on blasphemy laws.

And here are this week’s recommended reads:

The International Republican Institute offers a handy overview of the political scene and the major players in Georgia’s October 1 election. At The Atlantic, Charles H. Fairbanks Jr. looks at the recent prison scandal there and what they say about the legacy of the 2003 Rose Revolution.

The Caracas newspaper, El Universal, analyzes the impending Venezuelan presidential election through the prism of both candidates’ tweets. Reuters investigates the scandal over a fortune in government funds spent on a factory that never quite got built.

In its latest report, Freedom House takes a critical look at the state of censorship on the web.

October’s issue of Journal of Democracy includes several noteworthy papers on the state of Burma’s transition, including pieces by Hkun Htun Oo on minority rights, Min Ko Naing on civil society, and Brian Joseph and our very own Min Zin on the challenges of building democracy.

Anthony Kuhn of National Public Radio tells the story of Singapore’s forgotten dissidents.

Democracy Digest offers a helpful introduction to a new report, Political Parties in Democratic Transitions, that analyzes the dynamics of democratic transitions.

As the wave of protests around the Muslim world ebbs, two authors offer their perspectives on the motives of religious anger: Kenan Malik compares the latest protests with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and Steve Cole, writing in The New Yorker, shows why the TV imagery of fanatical rioters usually falls short of a complex reality.

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