Saturday Morning Brief

Author Says Democracy On Decline In Britain, US
Stein Ringen, emeritus professor at Oxford University and the author of “Nation of Devils: Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience,” asks whether it is too early to report the death of American democracy.

Ringen contends American democracy is in even worse shape than it appears blaming much of the decline on the campaign finance system.

“It’s not enough for governments to simply be democratic; they must deliver or decay. In Britain, government is increasingly ineffectual. The constitutional scholar Anthony King has described it as declining from “order” to “mess” in less than 30 years. During 10 years of New Labor rule, that proposition was tested and confirmed. In 1997 a new government was voted in with a mandate and determination to turn the tide on Thatcherite inequality. It was given all the parliamentary power a democratic government could dream of and benefited from 10 years of steady economic growth. But a strong government was defeated by a weak system of governance,” he writes.

If It Chooses, How Would Russia Invade Ukraine?
On the website In Moscow’s Shadows, Mark Galeotti says if Russia decides it has larger designs on Ukraine that it would not be that difficult to launch an invasion.

He says the preparations are in place, and all it would need is for Putin to manufacture a pretext for action. But, he adds, “the time for such an operation was probably a week ago rather than now, while the risks in such an adventure would be considerable. Russia has perhaps twice as many forces in theatre and a clear superiority in airpower, but not such a great advantage that it can be assured a quick and easy victory. It would also face the risk of guerrilla actions and public resistance behind its lines, as well as economic sanctions at the very least, but the possibility also of more direct action by the West. In this context, a further Russian move makes little real sense.”

Muslim-Christian Violence Continues To Rage In Africa
Violence between Christians and Muslims continued in the Central African Republic with an attack on a funeral that killed more than 20 Christians. Some 8000 foreign troops – 2000 from former colonial power France and most of  the rest from the African MISCA force – are trying to disarm rival militias  after a year of sectarian violence.

Meanwhile, the battle against Boko Haram, the radical Islamist terrorist group, has worsened in Nigeria’s northeastern corner, as the group issued a video urging supporters to launch attacks across the country. The Christian Science Monitor reports the videos remind allies that Western education is evil, that all universities should be closed, and says that “infidel” women will soon be sold in the marketplace.

According to Nigeria’s official relief agency, as many as 250,000 have been made homeless since January and more than three million people are facing a humanitarian crisis in three northern Nigerian states hit by an Islamist-led insurgency, BBC News reports.

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