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Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Egypt: Elections Do Not Make a Democracy

July 8th, 2013

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An election is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for democracy.  That’s the takeaway from the continuing upheaval in Egypt.

Last year, Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first freely elected president.  Morsi won with 51.7 percent of the vote — slightly more than the 51.1 percent that Barack Obama won in 2012. Morsi was the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization that had been banned and persecuted in Egypt for 60 years.

Morsi’s overthrow last week put the United States on the spot. Could Washington support the removal of a democratically elected government, even one we did not like?

The Morsi government may have been elected, but there are other requirements for a democracy. A democratic government has to guarantee minority rights. It has to accept the opposition as legitimate. It has to be willing to abide by the rules. And the truest test of a democracy: The government has to give up power if it is defeated at the polls. Read the rest of this entry »

Opening Russia

March 29th, 2012

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This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The World Trade Organization currently has 153 members, ranging from the United States and China, to Uruguay and Ukraine. The WTO is not an exclusive club. Venezuela, run by America-hating strongman Hugo Chavez, is a member. And plenty of other WTO countries have kings, presidents-for-life or juntas that are not making names for themselves as statesmen or democrats. Still, despite its varied membership, the WTO does play a vital role in opening markets and enforcing rules against unfair trade.

This summer, Russia will become the WTO’s newest member. Congress will have no say in the matter. But Russia’s WTO accession will nevertheless pose a quandary for Congress and for American exports. Current U.S. law would put American companies at a real disadvantage in exporting to Russia once it joins the WTO. Unless Congress acts to change the law, as President Obama and Congressional leaders have urged, American jobs in companies doing business with Russia — and the potential for tens of thousands more — will be at risk.
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