Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, December 3, 2012

Cristina Odone profiles Carne Ross, the crusader who's trying to save diplomacy from itself. And Willam Lloyd-George offers a portrait of Shwe Mann, the Burmese politician who's now being wooed by the White House despite his checkered past.

James Kirchick accuses Georgia's recently elected prime minister of threatening to derail the country's fledgling democracy.

Christian Caryl addresses the question of what makes a hero, and argues that Thein Sein, Burma's ex-general president, has what it takes.

Peter Murrell and Chuluunbat Narantuya explain how Mongolia's nomadic culture is helping the country evade the resource curse.

Ellen Bork warns the United States government against rushing prematurely into close cooperation with the Burmese military.

Alex Thurston analyzes the latest violent twist in the saga of Mauritania's troubled transition to democracy.

Endy Bayuni casts a skeptical eye on the human rights declaration recently passed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Jackee Batanda explains Uganda's involvement in the rising rebel movement in Congo -- and what Kampala can do to help end the crisis.

Juan Nagel takes a look at the latest mysterious disappearance of Venezuela's ailing president.

And here are this week's recommended reads:

The Atlantic Council's Egypt Source offers an excellent background on Egypt's constitutional crisis. Particularly useful are Nancy Messieh's close reading of the draft Egyptian constitution and Yussuf Auf's in-depth examination of the role of the Egyptian judiciary. Mohsin Khan provides much-needed coverage of a vital issue that has gone lost amid the political turmoil: The government's new economic plan.

Writing for NowLebanon, Hussein Ibish gives a scathing take on Egyptian President Morsi's efforts to accumulate power.

Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment makes a plea for reform of the U.S. democracy promotion establishment.

In a remarkable report for National Geographic, Jeff Bartholet tells the personal story behind a Tibetan's decision to set himself on fire as a protest against Chinese rule.

Tunisia Live offers excellent reporting on the continuing clashes between protestors and security forces at Siliana.

The International Crisis Group presents a must-read report on why Sudan desperately needs reforms if it is to avoid a new round of warfare with its own citizens and its neighbors.

Writing for CogitASIA (at the Center for Strategic and International Studies), Phuong Nguyen explains why Burma's important new laws on public assembly remain a work in progress.

Harvard's Calestous Juma shows how tribalism hampers the building of democratic institutions in Africa.

The International Republican Institute offers a useful backgrounder on recent elections in Somaliland. (You can find analyses of the results here and here.)

Photo by PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images

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