Syria and the Libya Intervention

The criticism of the intervention in NATO on the grounds that if the west intervenes to stop mass killings in Libya, they should do it everywhere else as well, is troubling because the corollary is that if the west cannot stop mass killing somewhere, it shouldn’t try to do it anywhere. Nonetheless, the intervention in Libya sets a precedent and creates expectations in the region that can create problems for the U.S. and its European allies.

Seinfeld Elections: Why Democracy Needs Conflict

Democracy works best when people in society disagree on a range of issues.  If one issue, an obvious example of this would be ethnicity, dominates in a country, than election outcomes will be the same each time and the government will either be paralyzed or permanent winners and permanent losers will emerge.  When this happens, democracy falters because, in the former case, the state is immobilized, and in the latter case, the permanent losers see no democratic way out of their condition.  Iraq, Bosnia and Lebanon are all examples of countries where ethnic identity has held sway as the major issue which determines how people vote.