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February 10, 2008

Nation-building: still harder than you think
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

East Timor's Nobel Peace Prize-winning president was shot at his home Monday morning, in an apparent coup attempt.  There are unsubstantiated reports that the Prime Minister's home was attacked as well.

Lest you forget, the international community intervened in 1999 to protect Timor's 876,000 people from Indonesian-backed militias... the country's been a global darling ever since... with the UN and Australia providing security... did I mention it has less than a million people and huge foreign aid (relatively speaking) and still can hardly manage peaceful politics?

Timor is still a success story.  It's just that this, not Berne-between-the-Tigris-and-Euphrates, is what national-building success looks like.  Messy and slow.  (Thankfully, it looks as if Ramos-Horta's injuries are not fatal.)


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