A Postcard from Kurdistan, Iraq’s Peaceful Retreat

By George Emile Irani (from Sulaymaniyya, Iraq, for Safe Democracy)

George E. Irani describes the current situation in Iraq from the chaos of terrorism, to the condition in which women live, to the creation of safe and peaceful Kurdish settlements in the North of Iraq. The country faces many challenges in the years ahead: how to avoid falling into a total civil war, how to construct a national identity, how to reach a consensus among the Iraqi people for the creation of a stable state founded upon the rule of law, and how to rebuild its economy. But perhaps the most important challenge of all is the treatment of women in the country. Despite the fact that the abuse and oppression of women in Iraq continue, in Irani‘s opinion the future of the country rests in the hands of women.

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Mexico: After the Elections, Now What?

By Ciro Di Costanzo (for Safe Democracy)

Ciro Di Costanzo analyzes the political and social panorama in Mexico upon the electoral victory of Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party (PAN). In Di Costanzo‘s opinion, the minute difference in votes that allowed Calderon to win will present some important political and social challenges for his presidency, and Calderon should be sure to incorporate some of the causes of the PRD and his opponent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador into his government. If Calderon champions certain leftist policies, like the creation of viable economic development, and the fight against poverty, he will unite his government, make way for national reconciliation, and ensure that Mexico does not fall once again into the stagnation and immobility that characterized President Vicente Fox‘s time in office.

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How to Give Meaning to the Non-Aligned Movement

By Edgardo Mocca (for Safe Democracy)

Edgardo Mocca takes advantage of the most recent meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana to reflect on the necessities of global democracy, and on the very real possibility that NAM‘s influence as a global voice may not have the same importance as it did during the Cold War. Mocca gives important ideas on how NAM can renew its strength by taking on a realistic and pragmatic series of goals to give it meaning and importance.

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Afghanistan: Opium and Democracy

By Zidane Zeraoui (for Safe Democracy)

Zidane Zeraoui explains how the production of opium has converted itself into a way of life and a principal source of capital for the people of Afghanistan. The increase in the production of opium over the last years has transformed political negotiation, as the very imperfect and very fragile democracy in Afghanistan finds itself incapable to curb the drug cultivation. In Zeroui‘s opinion, the democracy itself has worked to consolidate local powers and warlords who finance themselves through drug trafficking in Europe and Asia.

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China, 30 Years after Mao

By Mario Esteban (for Safe Democracy)

Mario Esteban explains how Chinese authorities have put aside the profound divergence between Maoism and the current government of China to pay homage to Mao Zedong on the thirtieth anniversary of his death. In Esteban‘s opinion, the insistence of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in preserving Mao‘s image is due to the role he plays in legitimizing the current regime. Mao was seen as both a tireless nationalist fighter for China‘s autonomy, and as an honest leader, concerned with the wellbeing of the masses. And, in the face great social inequality in China, the popular classes and intellectuals are turning to Mao as a symbol of social change. But even now, thirty years after his death, debate on the light and dark aspects of Mao‘s legacy continues to be taboo in China.

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The Decline of Tony Blair

By Ricardo Israel Z. (for Safe Democracy)

Ricardo Israel Z. writes that neither the disaster of Iraq, nor the war in Afghanistan, nor his unconditional support of George W. Bush, can explain Tony Blair‘s nosedive fall from power. The reason that Tony Blair lost power –or better said, the reason his own party members wrested it from him– is because many are convinced that if Blair stays in power he will lead the British Labour Party to disaster in the next elections. In Israel Z.‘s opinion, what happened to Margaret Thatcher –who was forced to resign without having lost an election– could very likely happen to Tony Blair.

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The United States and the Failure of the War on Terror

By Augusto Zamora R. (for Safe Democracy)

Augusto Zamora R. examines the war on terror, five years after the attacks of September 11th, and concludes that Washington has undertaken counterproductive, violent, and in many cases illegal policies, which have left it weaker and more isolated than ever. Terrorism has increased considerably since 2001 both in the number of attacks and in its victims. In Zamora R.‘s opinion, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon have not only proven to be military fiascos, but have provoked a new worldwide arms race.

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Why Lula Is Invincible in Brazil

By Julio Cesar Casarin Barroso Silva (for Safe Democracy)

Julio Cesar Casarin Barroso Silva explains why the majority of analysts in Brazil view Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as an invincible candidate, certain to win the upcoming elections in the first round. In Casarin Barroso‘s opinion, the two main candidates, Lula and Geraldo Alckmin (of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party), have very similar stances on policy, especially on maintaining the macroeconomic policies of Cardoso‘s government. Yet despite their ideological similarities, neither the opposition candidate from the right, Geraldo Alckmin, nor from the left, Heloisa Helena, has a prayer in winning Brazil‘s Presidency.

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Political Crisis in Bolivia

By Maximiliano Borches (for Safe Democracy)

Maximiliano Borches explains how Evo Morales‘ government has come under attack by both the left and the right for its project to nationalize hydrocarbon in Bolivia. With separatist threats from several regions of the country, and growing dissatisfaction over the Constituent Assembly, the opposition has begun attacking the administration with increasing confidence. In Borches‘ opinion, Evo Morales must confront this political crisis by lowering his own objectives, proving to his country that he still has popular support, allowing open dialogue with the opposition, and strengthening democracy in Bolivia.

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