Argument

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, May 11, 2015

To keep up with Democracy Lab in real time, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  Javier Corrales spells out the true cause of Venezuela’s economic malaise — and it isn’t the oil. Wai Moe explains why Kokang rebels are making life hard for the Burmese military and what this means for the country’s relationship with China. Asma Ghribi ...

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To keep up with Democracy Lab in real time, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

Javier Corrales spells out the true cause of Venezuela’s economic malaise — and it isn’t the oil.

Wai Moe explains why Kokang rebels are making life hard for the Burmese military and what this means for the country’s relationship with China.

Asma Ghribi reports on a new Tunisian security law that harkens back to the old dictatorship’s repressive methods.

Christian Caryl asks why, despite many years of bitter experience, we still allow genocides to happen.

Alexander Motyl argues that Kiev is better off now that Ukraine’s ruined eastern Donbass region is Russia’s responsibility.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

In a must-read essay, the Economist scrutinizes the state of democracy in the world: what has gone wrong, why, and how to fix it.

The International Crisis Group looks ahead to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2016 presidential and legislative elections on which the political future of the country depends.

In the Daily Beast, Jamie Kirchik spares no criticism for former Florida representative Bob Wexler, who has heaped praise on Kazakhstan’s recent election (in which President Nazarbayev received 97.5 percent of the vote).

Middle East Briefing warns that the Assad regime may collapse with little warning, and calls for the international community to impose a “dis-entanglement plan” to prevent horrific bloodshed. (In the photo, rebel fighters under the Free Syrian Army take part in a military training near Aleppo.)

Bloomberg’s Kateryna Choursina, Volodymyr Verbyany, and Alex Sazonov take stock of the diminishing fortune of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, whose candy company is shedding value along with the rest of Ukraine’s economy. Writing for openDemocracy, Jack Davies reports on a plague of western sex tourists taking advantage of the Ukrainian conflict to prey on vulnerable women.

Sarah Mendelson publishes a new CSIS report examining how governments attack civil society and looking at potential responses.

The Irrawaddy’s Kyaw Hsu Mon details the struggles of Burma’s private newspapers, squeezed by high production costs and competition from the state-run press.

And finally, the Syrian Observer notes that Syria and Russia have signed an agreement to “enhance cooperation in election-related expertise.”

Photo credit: BARAA AL-HALABI/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

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