Monday, January 12, 2009

Freedom House on the Bush years 

Freedom House has released its annual "Freedom in the World" report. According to FP Passport's Joshua Keating, who spoke last week to Freedom House's director of research (who, by the way, rejoices in the ultra-British name "Arch Puddington"), there was more improvement during the Bush years than most gum-flappers are willing to admit:

If you look at just our findings, there was a modest improvement over the eight years of the Bush administration. There was modest improvement in the Middle East. There was modest improvement in sub-Saharan Africa. The only region that showed decline throughout that period is the former Soviet Union.

So we certainly would not conclude, as some have, that the Bush administration was a catastrophe for the state of world freedom. There was some gain. Most of that gain came during the first four years and the decline came after the color revolutions and the backlash in the Middle East and you saw some of the gains eroded.

Freedom House also acknowledges some improvement in Iraq, which it still characterizes as "not free." It will be interesting to see whether it takes a different view of freedom in that country next year.


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