Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mass uprisings against hated regimes – they’re all the rage

If I had anything of substance that half as clever as that pun to say about Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and wherever else, I’d say it here. But there’s a limit to the number of countries on which I can quickly get myself up to the level of expertise needed for a pub conversation, let alone meaningful blogging. And that number is one, give or take.

I’ll just make the very general point that booting out a dictator isn’t the be-all and end-all of democratisation. If you can wring concessions out of him that seriously and permanently constrain his power, it may not be needed at all. And if he does go, what most matters for how the country then fares is the incentives faced by those (such as the Egyptian military) who find themselves in charge. Do they have greater motive to push for deeper constitutional reform or to consolidate their newfound power?

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