We forgot to mention yesterday that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took his oath of office as the first directly-elected president of Indonesia. The news around here is good. People are attempting to be optimistic about his chances to foster real change in the Indonesian economy and society. SBY has already, though, called on Indonesians to be patient, not to expect too much out of him in his first 100 days. Of course, he’s right, but it brings the real problem with SBY’s presidency to the forefront. SBY is a former general, and he rose to power under Suharto. He ran without a sound policy platform in a party he created himself only six months ago when he announced his candidacy. The Indonesian people face the same “delegation problem” that any democracy faces: how can you be sure that the person to whom you are delegating responsibility is going to use his powers for good?
In other news, we are simply shocked by the outcome of the Sox-Yankees series. Shocked, but thrilled. We admit that we are not dyed-in-the-wool Sox fans like some of our friends, but if we can be ABB then we can be ABY too. Plus, seven years of living in New England has inserted itself into my (tp) blood. JM just likes rooting for the underdogs.
Tonight the Freedom Institute is hosting Diskusi Ramadhan, or “Ramadhan Discussions.” It is a chance for all the folks affiliated with the Freedom Institute to meet, break their fast together, and discuss some politics. Tonight we are going to be discussing Fareed Zakaria’s “Islam, Democracy, and Constitutional Liberalism,” a paper which recently appeared in Political Science Quarterly. Fareed is known as a public intellectual and pop-academic, and he is an expert on the Middle East, Islam, and politics. I (tp still) tend to find his arguments more well-written than compelling, and I have a couple of comments that I want to raise. We will take part in the discussion and be back with a breakdown tomorrow, assuming that we understand what they’re talking about.