Saturday, December 27, 2003
From Foreign Affairs, January/February 2004
Summary: Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis, but its elite is bitterly divided on how to escape it. Crown Prince Abdullah leads a camp of liberal reformers seeking rapprochement with the West, while Prince Nayef, the interior minister, sides with an anti-American Wahhabi religious establishment that has much in common with al Qaeda. Abdullah cuts a higher profile abroad -- but at home Nayef casts a longer and darker shadow.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
“Success will be if there’s a private sphere where they have some real choice in what they do with their lives, and a public sphere where they can have some control over their destiny and the state doesn’t visit arbitrary violence on them,” he said. “This means some type of democracy. It won’t be Jeffersonian democracy, with farmers plowing the godforsaken sands outside of Nasiriya. Some would say, ‘That’s modest.’ But it isn’t. It will be huge. And it’ll be something uniquely Iraqi. They don’t have to love us, or even like us—why should they? We liberated them, but the fact that we had to do it adds to the trauma of coming out of decades of totalitarian rule. It’s difficult for us. We look at ourselves and say, ‘We have really good motives and try to do the right thing and why don’t people appreciate it?’ That’s an American thing. Few Iraqis are ever going to step forward and say, ‘I really love the C.P.A.’ They’ll have to live here long after we’re gone. They have legitimate interests, and we shouldn’t treat them as children—they’re not. If in five or ten years they can look back on this period and believe that they’re better off, then things will be O.K. We’ll be able to move beyond this period to where things are normal between the United States and Iraq.” He paused and shrugged. “In a way, success will be if the Iraqis don’t hate us.”
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Thsi is the Insurgency, based on Web communications, that looks likely to seize the Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidency for former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.
The implications for political manoeuvering in an UK context are covered in this British Spin posting on "talking about a Revolution" . This also references an article in The Washington Post on “What will happen when a national political machine can fit on a laptop?” .
Not so theoretical here in MK with the strong suspicions that the MK News freesheet is actually a political front for pushing for a directly elected Mayor and then getting the Propriotor elected in the Bedford Mayor manner. The wider technopolitics makes getting a Web Page look a very small step...
Policy Exchange and the New Economics Foundation are jointly commissioning a research project focusing on local government finance. 'The Decline and Fall of Local Democracy' is the first part of this study, and charts the history of local government funding in England and Wales. It examines the historical changes to local finance systems from their earliest origins in feudalism through the Victorian period and into the twentieth centur
Report available in .pdf format.