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Democracy Digest is the official publication of the National Endowment for Democracy, and offers news and analysis of worldwide democratic assistance.

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      Turkey threatened potentially crippling restrictions on oil trading with Iraqi Kurds on Thursday after they backed independence from Baghdad in a referendum that has alarmed Ankara as it faces a separatist insurgency from its own Kurdish minority, Reuters reports: Iraq’s Kurds endorsed secession by nine to one in a vote on Monday that has […]

    The post Kurdish vote reflects Middle East’s ‘existential quandary’ appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Najmaldin Karim, the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk Province, will not be returning to the city that elected him in 2011 and 2014. It’s too dangerous, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reports: In an interview Wednesday, he told me he fled his home on Tuesday in the early evening and has no plans at the moment to return. […]

    The post Soleimani ‘gets his way again’ as Iran fills strategic vacuum appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Does the U.S. administration’s decision to restrict visas for Cambodians engaged in “undermining democracy” in the Southeast Asian nation validate the Economist’s observation that it’s not necessary  “to have clear doctrines about democracy promotion, or many other weighty questions of geopolitics” in order to advance democracy? Despite a shift towards a more insular, America-First foreign […]

    The post Relative moralism: is the U.S. still promoting democracy? appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    THE HALLMARK of the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS), which was released in December, is the idea of “principled realism.” This marks a decided shift from the policies of Trump’s two immediate predecessors, according to Zalmay Khalizad. In his valuable book Realpolitik: A History, the British historian John Bew explains that realpolitik, or realism, was not, as often […]

    The post Principled realism: National Security Strategy ‘prudently’ advances democratic values appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    A key challenge for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies and programs is bringing extremists into the political mainstream, notes Kamran Bokhari. For many Muslim-majority states, the mainstream is contested space. These states are struggling to establish a monopoly over religious discourse and citizenship, and to varying degrees, are undemocratic political economies. As in the case […]

    The post Extremists and the Political Mainstream: The Case of Afghanistan appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The sense of crisis in Iran runs deep and wide. The economy is in free fall. The currency is plummeting. Rising prices are squeezing city dwellers. A five-year drought is devastating the countryside. The pitched battle between political moderates and hard-liners is so perilous that there is even talk of a military takeover, the New […]

    The post Iran decision: ’empowers undemocratic forces’ or gives scope for aiding civil society? appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    An Iraqi nationalist cleric who led two uprisings against US troops has taken a surprise lead in parliamentary elections, fending off Iran-backed rivals and the country’s incumbent prime minister, the electoral commission has said. Moqtada al-Sadr was leading in Iraq’s parliamentary election with more than half the votes counted, the electoral commission said, a surprise […]

    The post Sadr poll win highlights potential for non-sectarian politics in Iraq? appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    If China gains dominance over digital technology, it would be dangerous for freedom world-wide, says Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (2007-09) and head of policy planning in the Defense Department (1990-92). The government hopes to perfect digital imaging and facial recognition, he writes for the Wall Street Journal: Once it has centralized […]

    The post Exporting Beijing’s surveillance state: sharp power in action appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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