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Asia Society
January 24, 2016

As the socialist bloc began to crumble in 1989, some saw liberal democracy as “The End of History” and the only viable political system. But the number of democracies around the world has fallen from its peak in 2006. As nationalist populist movements unfold in liberal democracies like the United States and U.K., many are looking at ostensibly efficient and stable authoritarian systems like China’s for an alternative. But these systems have flaws of their own.
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Despite the unthinkable violence of two world wars, institutions established in the aftermath like the United Nations have “spectacularly failed” to end armed conflict, says bioethicist Jonathan Glover. Speaking at Asia Society in Hong Kong, Glover described two irrational psychological traps that continue to lead humans to war.
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In 1961, the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) undertook a secret plan to foment an anti-communist insurrection in Laos. In an interview with Asia Blog, Joshua Kurlantzick, author of a book on the subject, discusses how the operation transformed the CIA from focusing merely on analysis and intelligence collection into a war-fighting entity of its own.
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