Hugo Chávez Turns Toward the Sunset

hugo chavez

John Peeler: The Chávez era in Venezuela and Latin America will be seen as opening the possibility of transcending liberal democracy in societies where the vast majority is poor. Its success will be up to his successors.

Democratization: Indigenous Beats Imported

cairo demonstration

Ivan Eland: Despite George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s efforts to topple foreign dictators and use military power to forcefully impose democracy from without, democracy usually works better if it bubbles up from below by popular desire.

When “Good” Dictators Go Bad

hillary

Norman Solomon: And so, the secretary of state condemns awful Iran, invoking “our sense of human dignity, the rights that flow from it and the principles that ground it.” But don’t hold your breath for any such condemnation of, say, Saudi Arabia — surely an “awful” government that “routinely violates the rights of its people.”

Checks and Balances

Ron Wolff: Government is simply the institutionalization over time of the collective will of the people at any given moment, established with at least one essential objective in mind: the prevention of the inevitable chaos that would result in its absence.

Let’s Get Our Own Foreign Policy House in Order Before Criticizing Others

Putin as Priest

Ivan Eland: On March 31, 2010, the New York Times wrote an editorial that briefly expressed horror in response to the Moscow subway terror bombings, then warned that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin might yet again use terrorist attacks to further consolidate his power, and finally lectured Russia that the only way to defeat such extremism was to deal with the underlying causes. Such a sermonizing editorial by any Russian publication after the 9/11 attacks would have engendered outrage in America

Not Out of the Woods Yet in Iraq

Allawi Ayad

Ivan Eland: It is too early for the U.S. elite’s self-congratulation that democracy has finally been solidified in Iraq. Defeat could yet be snatched from the jaws of victory after U.S. forces leave, and even before that if the latest election is as destabilizing as was the one in 2005.

Haiti Reminds Us of the Poverty at Home

Haiti Coverage

David A. Love: It is unfortunate that it took an earthquake to put the spotlight back on poverty in Haiti. To be sure, the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that leveled Port-au-Prince would have been devastating under any circumstances. But the people of Haiti had been suffering for years. The difference is that no one cared, because people often become weary hearing about black people suffering.

Replacing International Oppression with International Aid

President John F. Kennedy urging University of Michigan students to support and join the Peace Corp in 1960.

Lawrence Wittner: So why should humanitarian aid be extraordinary? Why not make it routine? Long before the earthquake, Haitians were the poorest people in the hemisphere, suffering from widespread hunger, disease, and illiteracy. Could not the United States — the richest nation in the world with a public whose major anxieties (to judge from the vast attention given to weight loss) seem to result from over-eating — manage to share a bit of its affluence by regularly providing food aid to starving Haitians?

Building a Bush Memorial

bush-the-end

A letter to the editor in my local newspaper, the Charlottesville Daily Progress, has persuaded me to rethink the truly remarkable accomplishments of President George W. Bush and inspired me to join the movement to erect a Bush Memorial on the National Mall. The letter, published on February 9th, was from David H. Edmunds of […]

Advantage Biden

I had help with this one. I watched Joe Biden and Sarah Palin square off, on CNN, specifically for that network’s audience meters. In this case, it was a group of undecided voters in Ohio, both men and women. What was revealing to me was how the audience reaction dovetailed with my own.