Tag: Democracy

The United States Must Be Viewed as a Flawed Democracy at Significant Risk of Transitioning into Dictatorship

A study of flawed democracies and semi-dictatorships describes a common pattern of events as follows: After having lost an election, the sitting president claims that the election was invalid, whereupon he attempts a coup d’état and his supporters storm the parliament. A few years ago, this sequence of events would have been unthinkable in any… Read more »

Which Countries Win (and Lose) When We Add Democracy to the Human Development Index?

The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) is a major achievement. It has focused the world’s attention on the human aspects of development, highlighting and featuring not just economic gains but also schooling and education and life expectancy. In this, it was a hugely important corrective for a development community that tended to have a pure… Read more »

Preventing a Catastrophic COVID Crisis in America

COVID-19 is the most severe pandemic since 1918. Beyond the harrowing humanitarian costs, large-scale economic disruptions are underway that can lead to crisis and conflict. The epidemiological advice is clear: flatten the curve, whatever it takes. Any society presented with the choice between world war-levels of casualties and temporary disruptions of social and economic life… Read more »

What “Chernobyl” Teaches Us About the Superiority of Democracy

Authoritarian structures made Chernobyl an unavoidable accident. The HBO series “Chernobyl” has garnered rave reviews all over the world. Norwegian newspapers have been almost unanimous in their praise of the series. And with good reason. This is television drama at its very best. One largely overlooked aspect of the series is what it teaches us… Read more »

Popular Anti-Immigration Movements – and the Response of Democracy

All across Europe, we see growing opposition to immigration. Tough measures imposed by governments are limiting immigration but are not having the same effect on opposition to immigration. Mounting polarization is putting Europe’s democracies as well as European cooperation to the test. I recently visited Warsaw, and then travelled on to Berlin. The capitals of… Read more »

Zimbabwe: from Coup to Democratization?

In the early hours of the morning on 15 November, the Zimbabwean military placed President Mugabe under house arrest. The coup against one of the longest serving rulers in Africa appears to have been a reaction to Mugabe’s ouster of his vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, to pave the way for his wife as the successor to… Read more »

Trump and Threats to Truth, Democracy and Peace

Stein Tønnesson delivered this year’s The Fjord Memorial Lecture  at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer. The lecture discusses Trump’s team of advisors, calls for fighting the increasing use of lies in political campaigning, sees Trump’s election as having weakened democracy worldwide, and perceives a major risk to world peace. Tønnesson ends the lecture… Read more »

Democratic Intervention?

Donald Trump has made statements sceptical of military interventions in the Middle East. This is perhaps a rare piece of good news. Military intervention as a means of building democracy has once again become a hot topic. The Norwegian government has been criticized due to the consequences of the intervention in Libya. Hillary Clinton has… Read more »

The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination

Five years ago, the Basque militant group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a unilateral and permanent cessation of operations. Since then, the disappearance of political violence has given rise to a new debate on Basque nationhood: more inclusive, more open, more civic, and at the same time stronger in its affirmation of the legitimacy… Read more »