What started as a small demonstration by opponents of the redevelopment of a landmark park in Istanbul in late May escalated into some of the biggest anti-government protests to erupt in Turkey in years. This is presenting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the most serious challenge to his authority during his decade in office.
Comparisons almost always cause resentment. The French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that when humans lived alone in the state of nature, they were happy with their lot and needed only their own self-approval. But the move to society, living cheek by jowl with others, invited precisely those comparisons with others that creates ill-will, envy and jealousy.
Since 2009, the federation government has grappled with difficulties stemming from a debt crisis in Dubai and the threat of internal unrest amid the Arab Spring in 2011. To all appearances, the emirs have met those twin challenges with success. The wave of rebellion that swept across the region largely bypassed the UAE. It was kept at bay by generous social spending rather than political concessions.
There are many grand failures of U.S. foreign policy. Egypt has joined the pantheon, with Washington seemingly under attack by every faction in Cairo. Egypt long has been a national wreck. Its recent history featured rule by an indolent king and a leftish Arab nationalist. A couple of authoritarian generals followed. The economy was ruined by dirigisme economic plans, endless bureaucratic incompetence, and pervasive political corruption.
SPECIAL REPORT—As the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has re-emerged onto the world stage in the first decade of the 21st century, its growing economic and political weight has captured the attention of business and political elites worldwide. And due to China’s intense focus on expanding and diversifying exports to spearhead the development of a country of more than 1.3 billion people, its actions have profoundly impacted countries around the world.
The power struggle at the top of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) appears to have been resolved sufficiently to reduce the risk of an open rift in the regime. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Nguyen Van Dung has been weakened in the process. In addition, he still faces serious challenges in the form of a stalling economy, a debt-ridden banking sector, and a public increasingly impatient with corruption.
Since Daniel Ortega returned to the presidency in 2007, the former Marxist guerrilla leader has confounded his critics by implementing a generally liberal economic policy agenda in cooperation with the IMF. Ortega’s willingness to accommodate the private sector was highlighted in late November 2012, when the FSLN majority in the National Assembly approved a tax-reform package that is among the IMF’s conditions for a new lending agreement.
Nicaragua’s National Assembly, dominated by the ruling Sandinista party, authorized a 100-year concession to the Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. for the development and eventual operation of a new $40 billion canal through the Central American country. Although HK Nicaragua had been publicly working on the canal deal in Nicaragua for more than a year, the June 13th vote by the National Assembly was symbolic.
China's relationship with the United States is increasingly complex and competitive, and it's bound to get even more complex as China pursues an aggressive growth strategy. When Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama met last weekend in California to try and mend their often tenuous relationship, it was clear that China had its own agenda.
Indonesia has much to celebrate. The world’s most populous Islamic nation surmounted the Suharto dictatorship to create a democratic and increasingly prosperous state. If it can overcome secessionist pressures in what remains an artificial country, Indonesia may become an important counterweight to China in Southeast Asia. Indonesians also could encourage Islam to move in a more tolerant direction.
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