Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom by Condoleezza Rice, 486 pages. Narrated by Condoleezza Rice and Grace Angela Henry.
Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, and current Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy, Rice is well-suited to tell us the stories of governments in transition moving towards democracy, and then sometimes away from it again.
Rice witnessed the dissolution of the Soviet Union firsthand, as part of George HW Bush's National Security team, and she tells of how Russia, Ukraine, and other regions of the fomer USSR lurched toward a more democratic way of governing and then backed away, sometimes violently.
Yushchenko (leaning towards democracy) versus Yanukovych (leaning towards his good friend Putin) in Ukraine; Uribe against the FARC and the AUC in Colombia, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf trying to rebuild Liberia after the warlord Charles Taylor was overthrown all have their stories told here. And Rice is an excellent storyteller. She comes across as a supremely intelligent, compassionate, and competent diplomat. Her insider's view of the George W Bush administration makes one nostalgic for a time when you only suspected the President didn't know what he was doing.

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