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This blog offers you comments on recent events written by members of D+C’s editorial team. You’ll find one or two posts per week. The guiding question is whether something is good or bad for global development.

by Hans Dembowski

Human rights are universal, not western

The rise of right-wing populism in Europe and North America does not delegitimise democracy promotion. The Arab spring and other popular uprisings have shown that the demand for self-determination is not specifically western. People want to be in charge of their lives all over the world.
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by Hans Dembowski

What The Economist gets wrong about liberalism

On its current cover, the London-based magazine The Economist celebrates its 175th birthday. The issue includes a long essay on the merits of liberalism, the worldview which The Economist wholeheartedly endorses. Unfortunately, the essay shies away from dealing with the crucial inherent contradiction of liberalism: does it emphasize free markets or equal opportunity? What is more important: the private interests of the “bourgeois” or the public good demanded by the “citoyen”?
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by Hans Dembowski

The USA is in constitutional crisis

The USA will hold elections in two months. If President Donald Trump's Republican Party keeps control of both houses of Congress, the country's constitutional crisis will deepen. If you don't trust my word on this matter, check out what leading North American media pundits are saying.
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by Hans Dembowski

It is still too early to assess the future of NAFTA

On Monday, US President Donald Trump announced that he had reached a new trade deal with Mexico, and that it would replace NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Area. Two days later, we still do not have a clear idea of what exactly negotiators USA and Mexico have agreed, nor do we know how Canada will be involved. Trump’s announcement was obviously exaggerated and premature.
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by Hans Dembowski

Why governments struggle to eradicate the illegal drug trade

The international trade in illegal drugs is a multi-billion industry. Attempts to eradicate it have been going on for decades. The results are absolutely unconvincing. Masses of people have died, but illegal substances are still available in all of the world’s major cities. The war on drugs has not gone well. The global security impacts are serious. Thiago Rodrigues, a Brazilian scholar, assesses important dimensions of the policy challenge in the current edition of International Reports.
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by Hans Dembowski

The dangerous downward spiral of Turkey’s economy

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country does not face any real economic problem. That statement is wrong. He also says that it is suffering because of a foreign “operation”. That is not totally wrong, though it radically downplays his own responsibility. Finally, Erdogan claims to have alternatives to cooperating with the West in foreign affairs. This is reckless. I’ll do my best to explain these points.
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by Hans Dembowski

How Kabila wants to stay in power without running for office

Joseph Kabila is not planning to be re-elected as the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 23 December. He will not be a candidate. At first glance, this looks like good news. It had been expected that he would run again in spite of a constitutional term limit that bars him from staying in office. The bad news, however, is that the DRC is still a long way from free and fair elections. What looks more likely than democratic governance is civil strife.
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by Sabine Balk

“The world is slipping off track”

The recent Aids Conference in Amsterdam was a wake-up call. The situation regarding the epidemic is at a precarious stage, and UNAIDS sounded the alarm. According to its latest comprehensive report on the global situation of HIV/AIDS, there is a rising tide of infection; meanwhile money and time are running out.
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