Saturday, January 29, 2011

An instructive moment

In October 1989, the East German leadership was intent to repress demonstrations in Leipzig, where mass demonstrations were underway.  Ordered by East German leader Erich Honecker to use a iron first, Interior Minister Erich Mielke replied, "Erich, we can't beat up hundreds of thousands of people.'' 

And as for the fashionable idea of "upgraded authoritarianism":
 Authoritarianism in the Arab world is not what it used to be. Indeed, it might well be stronger, more flexible, and more resilient than ever, despite the best efforts of the United States, its European Union part­ners, and Arab democrats to bring about sustained and systematic political reform over the past two decades. --Steven Heydemann.

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