Is democracy dying? Certainly authoritarianism is rising. A generation ago, it was the opposite — authoritarianism seemed moribund, democracy on the cusp of new life. Sekai magazine (April) sums up the gloomier mood now gaining ground. "We cannot," it says, "take democracy for granted."

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the December 1989 Malta Summit — the symbolic end of the Cold War.

U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev didn't exactly lay down their arms — no formal agreements were signed — but Gorbachev said, "We are at the beginning of a long road to a lasting, peaceful era," and Bush added, "We can realize a lasting peace and transform the East-West relationship to one of lasting cooperation."