Political Transitions Remain A Delicate Balance

Paper Offers Guidelines On Transitioning From Conflict To Governance
New York University’s Center on International Cooperation has a new paper probing the challenges faced by those mediating the political transition that follows the cessation of conflict or collapse of authoritarian regimes.

At the point at which conflict ceases and transition begins, the report says the fundamental questions are which parties will be responsible for managing the process and what the pace of that transition should be.

The article acknowledges that there is no “right answer” and that there are inherent “dangers of establishing compromised institutions and rules” following the end of conflict.

“These relate primarily to the tendency of temporary institutions to become permanent – to insist on their own survival. In this regard we would emphasize that the success of a transition will depend to a large extent on the leadership of the key players. No finely crafted and agreed text can guarantee this,” note the authors.

New Book Provides Insight On Political Transitions In Select Nations
What do Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, and Ukraine have in common? All are undergoing dramatic political transitions, although their experiences and successes vary. A new book, Pathways to Freedom, examines the structural factors and policy choices that have shaped those transitions.

In particular, the book focuses on the themes of socioeconomic inclusion and exclusion, economic and government structure, civil society and media, the educational and legal systems.

One of the conclusions the authors draw is that “violent overthrows and coups d’état may appeal as a quick fix to oust a bellicose dictator, but they will likely only replace one authoritarian ruler with another.”

Therefore, policymakers in outside states should concentrate on advancing economic strategies “that foster the emergence of a middle class, while limiting economic measures, such as investments in extractive industries, that tend to concentrate economic gains in the hands of elites.”

China Facing Growing Unrest From Muslim Minority More than 25 died this week in unrest in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang, a province which has seen regular violent outbreaks between the predominantly Muslim ethnic minority Uighurs and the Han Chinese majority.

The New York Times reports the strife stems from resentment among the Uighur minority, which resents the growing presence in Xinjiang of Han Chinese people, whom they say get the better jobs and land. The Uighurs, who align themselves with Sunni Muslims, have been the target of recent crackdowns on religion by the government, including the arrest of almost 220 Muslims for promoting “racial hatred.

Many Uighurs blame the violence on religious and cultural discrimination resulting from a massive influx of Han. China has claimed that they are facing a growing threat from terrorists or extremists in the Uighur community who want to form a separate state called East Turkestan.

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