Coups Armies Rampant

Revolts in Burma and Haiti underscore the elusiveness of democracy

Military coups. Murder in the streets. National strangulation by chaos.

To most of those who live in the major democracies, a bare 30 or so countries around the globe, the desirability and benefits of the system seem so self-evident that the agonies often endured to bring it into being are easily forgotten. Last week upheavals in two very different countries brutally reminded the world that there is no inevitability to the progress of the democratic idea. In Burma a new military regime seized power, snuffing out the hopes of that country's population for a new dawn of political freedom after the...

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