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About William Courtney

William Courtney is a former US ambassador to Kazakhstan and Georgia.

Articles by William Courtney

This week’s editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Kazakhstan's Democracy Gap


Over its two decades of independence Kazakhstan has made enormous progress. Economic reforms, energy exploitation and interethnic harmony are major gains. Democratic reforms, however, lag behind. William Courtney writes about the “democracy gap” that is putting the country’s future at risk.

Get real about ‘enlarging Europe’

Membership of EU and NATO continues to be a thorny question for the countries of Eastern Europe and for Turkey. Arrangements short of full membership offer economic and security benefits and should be the way forward, contend Denis Corboy, William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz

Central Asia: new security challenges

Kyrgyzstan’s violence underscores the instability of those former Soviet governments which are burdened by authoritarian and corrupt rule. To varying degrees, every Central Asian country faces serious threats at home and from the war in neighboring Afghanistan. They need help. The West and Russia should act, including by engaging the underutilized Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Russian Reform at a Turning Point

Much of Russian history is characterized by pendulum swings between orthodoxy and reform to overcome backwardness. Russia is again debating reform and the West has a vital stake.

Forward, Mr President!

Three former Western ambassadors to countries in the post-Soviet space applaud President Medvedev's call for sweeping reform on last week and suggest some ways Russia might modernise that build on experience

Beware Russia’s three tinderboxes

The West must take more account of Russia's aggressive mood , warn the head of London's Caucasus Policy Institute  and two former US envoys to the post-Soviet space. Crises are looming in Georgia, Ukraine, and Muslim North Caucasus
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