Are the “flower revolutions” in the Middle East and North Africa endangering stability in China? by Christian Göbel

These are fascinating
times, as the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East might well be the
beginning of a “Fourth Wave” of Democracy. The late political scientist Samuel
Huntington once likened clustered incidences of democratizations to “waves”. After
the apparent ebbing out of the “Third Wave”, which between 1974 and the early
1990s swept over Southern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe, the
time might have come for another democratic push. As a political scientist
studying stability and instability of authoritarian regimes, I am extremely

Still Repairing Chinese-Japanese Relations by Asger Røjle Christensen

Yes, there has been a serious crisis
recently between China and Japan.

The collision between a Chinese
fishing trawler and a Japanese coastguard patrol boat close to the disputed
islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, prompted both countries
to take drastic measures which resulted in China canceling a number of
high-level ministerial meetings between the two countries. But no, this doesn’t
imply that the region is on the brink of open confrontation. It doesn’t disturb
the general trend towards a more pragmatic cooperative attitude from both
sides.

The waiting

Ang San Suu Kyi was released. And there was an election. And
that’s about as concrete as this post is going to get – of course there are
more to be said, but as is always the case with Burma
and her elusive leadership, there are no answers to be found in Rangoon.

As always, details are sketchy, indecipherable and
insufficient and what is really the situation for the average Burmese citizen
is unclear. Getting more concrete than just stating the two above things is not
an easy task.

The Pursuit of Happiness – The Ninth Millennium Development Goal by Nicol Foulkes, NIAS

A couple of months ago I attended a lecture
here in Copenhagen given by the charismatic
Prime Minister of the Kingdom
of Bhutan, the Honorable
Jigmi Y. Thinley. Bhutan is
a small country in South Asia nestled between north east India and Tibet
in the Himalayas. With Buddism as the dominant
religion (75%) and Hinduism as the second (25%), it may not come as such a
surprise that Bhutan
is the only country in the world to measure the well-being of its country by
gross national happiness rather than the more widely recognized, gross domestic

Send in the clowns – Burma election Nov. 7 2010 by Anya Palm

The spotlight is brightly
lit, while the preparations take place behind stage. The stage itself is empty
– for now – but every single seat in the audience is taken. All the VIP-guests
are in place – the UN, the ambassadors, the human rights defenders, the
experts. But despite a packed crowd, the theater is silent. The focus on the
empty stage is so intense that the spectators are not even exhaling. They are
waiting. They do not know what the show will be about and that is what makes
the waiting so tense. All they know is that it is a performance of utmost