"I think there's a broader problem and that is that Americans know very little about Canada."
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Far from spearheading democratic governance, the new breed have built ruthless totalitarian regimes to a varying degree. Of the quartet Eritrea is the most closed and most repressive, routinely denying its people access to the outside world. Since independence from Ethiopia in 1993 Eritrea has been ruled by as a one-party state headed by Afewerki, who tolerates no opposition.
In the case of Rwanda's President Paul Kagame whose second and last term ends in 2017, there can no longer be any doubts about his intentions. And his grand strategy for retaining appears quite clever, and indeed most likely to succeed, assuming there are no mishaps or some unforeseen events that might derail his masterplan.
Though still very far from the ideal, countries like Chile, Columbia, Peru, Brazil and Mexico have adopted political democracy and market economics, and are moving forward because of it. With any luck, Cuba's dictatorship will also soon crumble, and at long last allow its people to live in freedom.
When Justin Trudeau said last week that he had a "level of admiration" for China's "basic dictatorship," the understandable knee-jerk reaction from some politicians and pundits was to kick the federal Liberal leader. But while that gaffe was reprehensible, it was hardly incomprehensible and perhaps entirely understandable given the structure of our own political system, the parties within it and how some Canadians feel about dictatorships.
It didn't take long for Harper to express his opinions about Chavez's government after his death. On the very same day that the controversial ruler officially passed away, along with brief condolences...
On this day in 2009 I and a few other online activists worked an intense and thrilling 16 hours to publish live updates on Persian2English about mass opposition student protests in Iran. It was National Student Day, or as the Iranians call it, 16 Azar. This year the lunar calendar caused 16 Azar to fall a day earlier, but there were no signs of opposition protests in Iran yesterday.
The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been described as both a dictator and a progressive leader. But one cannot measure Ethiopia by Canadian or American standards. The fact is that most western civilizations did not start out as unified nation we see today and the fact is that democracy is a process.
Believe me when I say that writing this has also been a painful decision, provoked by the sight of the two Yemeni doctors on TV, who might have been the two of us 30 years ago, clamoring for medical equipment and ambulances.