Joshua A. Tucker
With Libyan rebels storming the city of Tripoli and the Qaddafi regime almost certain to fall, conversation has turned quickly to the question of what sort of government is likely to spring up in its stead. As our experience watching governments in East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union transition from communism (both to democracy and autocracy) should tell us, the range of possible outcomes for the country is neither uniform nor inevitable. Indeed, the chances that Libya will make a successful democratic transition depend upon a number of discrete variables.
June 06, 2011
In the aftermath of the arrest of Ratko Mladic, all eyes are now on Serbia’s application for European Union membership (see, for example here, here, and here). After all, the arrest of Mladic, whom Time described as “Europe’s most wanted war-crimes suspect”, was supposed to be the major remaining obstacle to Serbia joining the EU.
The Firing of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov
September 28, 2010
Earlier today, Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev fired Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov (see here and here for good news reports). For those of you who don’t closely follow the soap opera that is “As the Kremlin Turns,” here is a quick guide to bring you up to speed: Q) He fired him? I didn’t know mayors could get fired. A) Yes, actually in Russia the president is allowed to fire and appoint the governors of the regions, and Moscow and St.
April 12, 2010
One of the worst days for Poland is rapidly becoming one of its greatest. The country's president, its armed forces' chiefs of staff, and its National Bank President, along with many more high state officials--the core members of Poland's governing elite--lost their lives on Saturday morning. Much of the media attention has been on the destination of the presidential visit: the commemoration of the Katyn massacre in 1940. On Stalin’s orders the Soviet NKVD executed nearly 20,000 Polish Army officers (who were also key members of the educational, professional, and administrative elite).
November 09, 2009
Monday marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is worth pausing to recall just how momentous, and unanticipated, this event and those that followed were. My students today have no memory of the cold war; to them, Prague and Budapest, just like Paris and Madrid, are simply places to visit or study in Europe.
The Hard Sell
October 22, 2009
President Obama faces an enormous political challenge in figuring out how to respond to General Stanley McChrystal's request for more soldiers in Afghanistan. One the one hand, resisting troop requests from the military during a time of war is difficult for any chief executive--particularly for Democratic presidents.
From Obama With Love
March 05, 2009
It’s not often that a journalist manages to provoke immediate responses from the presidents of both the United States and Russia, but Peter Baker pulled it off Tuesday. Writing in The New York Times, Baker revealed the existence of a “secret letter” in which Barack Obama suggested that if Russia helped prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States might abandon its planned missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Both presidents denied that the letter offered an explicit quid pro quo, but interestingly both noted that such a trade could be a good one.