The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall
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Locate nations on the J Curve -- left for authoritarian, right for democratic. Then figure out how to force those on the left to open their societies, rather than encouraging them to shut them tighter by further isolating them. The West's isolation of Kim Jong-il's North Korea gives him the cover he needs to extend his brutal regime (the mistake the U.S. made for a long time with Saddam Hussein and Castro); in Saudi Arabia, western governments should encourage manageable change before the country breaks apart; they should help strengthen China's economy so it can further liberalize; they must encourage Israel to decide what kind of country it will be.
Filled with imaginative and surprising examples of how to correct outworn political ideas, The J Curve points the way for western governments to lead the way to a realistic political balance and a healthier economic future.
right-side states will become even more treacherous to traverse. Changes to the global economy produce deep anxiety within all states that are plugged into it. But ill-considered protectionist economic and security policies in the United States, Europe, or anywhere else are merely another form of self-imposed isolation. No gated community, even one that was wealthy when the gates were first installed, can long remain prosperous and dynamic in a globalized world. There have been a number of
Once in power, Iran’s clerics banned the formation of political parties. But even religious conservatives divided into rival camps: some advocated a pragmatic approach to the West and a kind of “Islamism in one country”; others sought a more ideologically rigid and confrontational foreign-policy approach. This division into pragmatic and dogmatic factions ultimately pushed Iranian civil society toward pluralist party politics. Khomeini, hoping to purify Iran by isolating it, banned satellite
within Russia itself. But he also unified conservative opposition within the Communist Party and provoked calls to roll back reform and to push the Soviet Union back up the left side of the curve.* By 1991, only Gorbachev and his most loyal supporters believed the Soviet Union could become a right-side state. Once the conservatives launched a coup in August and sidelined the Soviet president, the battle for the USSR’s future became a fight between those who wanted to reconsolidate authoritarian
as they offered one final solution to save the Yugoslav state. Slovenia proposed, in essence, that Yugoslavia should remain in one piece. But they asserted that the Yugoslav government should allow each republic to decide whether to maintain Communism or to embrace multiparty democracy. Milosevic rejected the plan. Still, the leaderships of the various territories of Yugoslavia gathered in January 1990 for the 14th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The Slovene delegation tried
the invitation is his most important task. EU membership could make Turkey a model of liberal democracy for the Muslim world, bind Turkey to Western institutions, and reinforce its position as a bulwark against Islamist extremism. An EU rejection of Turkey’s application, on the other hand, could anger Turkey’s citizens, reverse domestic reforms, embolden religious extremists, and provoke more military interference in politics. The result would be a clear slide into dangerous political and social