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PacNet #46 – Vice President Gore and the Rule of Law in Malaysia

Major U.S. papers have supported Vice President Al Gore’s criticism of Malaysia at the pre-APEC dinner for the region’s businessmen. His remarks may help Mr. Gore at home, but they caused confusion and criticism among participants who questioned the appropriateness of such remarks. One problem was that Gore mixed his messages and examples. He cited the maxim that democracies have done better at overcoming economic crises than “nations where freedom is suppressed,” because “democracy confers legitimacy that reforms must have to be effective.” He then mentioned examples of reform movements: “people’s power” in the Philippines, “doi moi” in Vietnam and “reformasi,” a slogan being shouted in the streets of Malaysia and Indonesia, even as he spoke.