The Boston Globe reports on Africa's surprising turn-around over the past few years. Democracy is up, economies are thriving, and peace is spreading. Matt Yglesias notes that the end of the Cold War, which inherently stymied reform by letting corrupt nations play the two global superpowers off for string-free support, has given these states breathing room to grow and prosper. Yglesias is right that it's important to not get into that same game with China in the coming years, but we must be equally vigilant to not let China cast itself as a "shield" for illiberal regimes who want to continue oppressing their citizenry with impunity (as they have been doing for Sudan).
Of course, it's not all good news -- there are still hellish scenarios playing out in Zimbabwe and Sudan, and Yglesias linked to the Globe article itself as a counterpoint to Congo's descent back into chaos. But any progress is good progress -- and nothing would be better for the persistent trouble-spots in the region than if their neighbors were able to get on solid footing and could pull them up with them.