Asia: What’s in a name?

One of the first things I was required to do upon recently taking over as Director for the Center of Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville was to define the organization’s goals and the strategy. This naturally entailed defining the geographical scope of Asia for the purview of the Center. Such a task however [...]

Political Restructuring in China – A Template on How China can Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy!

Last week, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for political reform once again, while at the same time he rejected (again) any comparisons between his country and the autocracies now collapsing in North Africa and the Middle East. Premier Wen is right when he says that the current socio-economic conditions in China are nothing like the [...]

Waiting for Godot: Democratization in Southeast Asia

In Samuel Beckett’s famous absurdist play the two principal characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly in vain for the arrival of Godot. Observing politics in Southeast Asia one can often feel like Beckett’s two characters when it comes to waiting for democratic reforms and political liberalization. Frequently there are false dawns, and multiple setbacks but [...]

Social Movements and Political Influence in Venezuela, Suriname, Jamaica and Indonesia

Abstract Political science defines social movements as organizations that seek to influence the political system from the grass-roots and are antithetical to the organized political sphere of neo-liberal policy-making. The hypothesis of this paper is that social movements between 1980 and 2000 failed to push for economic reform because many crisis- ridden economies could not [...]

Gary Locke to be the Next U.S. Ambassador to China

This week the White House announced that Gary Locke, current Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce would success outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down to possibly run for president. Mr. Locke is one of the two first ever Chinese-Americans to serve in the Cabinet, and is well known and [...]

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