Browsing articles from "August, 2010"
Aug 31, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Tweeting alone

The Mikocheni Report hits the nail on the head on the role of social media in developing countries:

Social media are an elite concern at this point in time, limited in their reach and somewhat unsuited for mass political campaigns except through SMS. Still, they are important for convincing the reluctant voters in the Blackberry class that as a tech-savvy politician, you might be someone they would like to do business with.

Bingo. Twitter won’t overthrow any country until it becomes an everyday part of life and Facebook isn’t really of much value if you live in a village without electricity. SMS, by contrast, is an everyday part of life in many developing countries and is playing a role in political mobilization.

Aug 31, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

The fog of speeches on war

The prez spoke at me tonight on Afghanistan, Iraq, and the economy. His comments on Afghanistan were less than edifying:

…next August, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility.  The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground…

Clear. As. Mud.

Aug 30, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Islam and Democracy…not again

Yet another discussion of whether Democracy and Islam are compatible (these folks say yes). The discussion just won’t die. I’ll keep this brief.

The countries with the largest Muslim population (Indonesia) and the third largest Muslim population (India) are democracies. Close to one in four Muslims live in these two countries. If something is true nearly 25% of the time, I’d say it is far more than a theoretical possibility.

The rejoinder to this argument is typically “well, what I really meant was Arabs.” This is true: there are no Arab democracies. Yet since Arabs account for only 20% of all Muslims, using “Muslim” as a synonym for “Arab” doesn’t work very well. Moreover, Arab is an ethnic group, not a religion, so using Islam (i.e., a religion) as an argument for why Arabs (i.e., an ethnic group) can’t be democrats doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.

Aug 28, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Karzai’s Paradox

Some in the US government are furious at Hamid Karzai because he is blocking attempts to investigate corruption. Others in the US government are the counter-parties to many of these bribes. These guys say the mugwumps don’t understand that bribes are the only way we can get the intel we need. We tend to call these no win situations. From now on, I think I will refer to them as Karzai’s Paradox.

Aug 28, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Why doesn’t Elmo ever go to USAID?

Contemplating the travails of USAID is a common theme on this blog. Our analysis today is the self-inflicted wound of omission. The world’s most popular children’s television show is Sesame Street. USAID is one of the major funders of Sesame Street overseas.

Question: Why is there so little on USAID’s website about this impressive accomplishment?

Answer: I don’t know.

Elmo is stumped

Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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