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Asia’s Examples for the Middle East

by Joshua Kurlantzick
February 28, 2011

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sanaa

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sanaa University February 28, 2011. (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters)

In the midst of the unrest in the Middle East, many Arabs, and outside observers, are looking for models for the region’s transitions. One place to look is Asia’s democratic revolutions of the past two decades, from South Korea to Indonesia to the Philippines, the original home of “People Power.” Unfortunately, after the initial euphoria, many of these revolutions have gone sour; today, twenty-five years after overthrowing Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines is technically a democracy, but it’s a weak, corrupt, and oligarchic one.

I have a new CFR expert brief expanding on this topic. It is available here.

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