One of my friends and former professors Martha Merritt has a great piece on Georgia's "Velvet Revolution" in Friday's Chicago Tribune. You can read her piece here. Her most important conclusion?
"Like former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Shevardnadze struggled to establish a credible presidential network that could carry out his commands. Elections became a tool to affirm his power, rather than a vehicle for accountability and public choice. Both Yeltsin and Shevardnadze have now relinquished power, but neither lost it through an election that empowered the opposition. These were lost opportunities to give the public confidence and to affirm a commitment to democratic political institutions."
This is a great lesson for our democracy building in Iraq. As she concludes, our actions in Iraq, and likewise in all of the Middle East, will require a "continued focus on the means of building democracy instead of just the promise of it".