Here's an entertaining and educational parlor game the whole family can enjoy on those long winter evenings.
Get yourselves a map of Africa and rank the democratic countries in order of political stability!
Hmm, that's a head-scratcher, isn't it?
First conundrum; how democratic and by whose standard?
Next problem; once you're into the second hour of head-scratching, countries you may have successfully categorized in the first hour could very well have suffered a "spring", a coup, an invasion, or been sold to Dan Gertler or a Canadian mining conglomerate.
Just last spring the government of Mali, reputedly "one of the most stable and democratic" in Africa, was toppled by a US trained Colonel with less firepower than the Luther Marsh Duck Hunting Club.
And all this week, the President of the Central African Republic has been pleading with his colonial overlords, or his "French and American cousins" as he likes to frame it, to save his sorry kleptocratic ass from the rebels bearing down hard on the capital.
As random happenstance would have it, the US and France both have boots on the ground already in the CAR, ostensibly to track down that most heinous band of evildoers of all time, the Lord's Resistance Army.
Frankly, I'm guessing the boffins at AFRICOM wouldn't care one way or the other whether Kony or Bozize was in charge of the CAR, as long as someone's in charge who will make the place safe for foreign capital.
You see, in Africa there can be no stability without democracy, and there can be no democracy without capitalism, and there can be no capitalism without foreign capital. That's because for the entire capitalist era, foreigners have been exploiting Africa's wealth and sending the profits elsewhere. Ergo, Africa has no indigenous capital and is therefore entirely dependent on foreign investment!
So until AFRICOM has had some time to set things right, the next few dozen years in the history of the Dark Continent will be dark indeed.
And good luck finding those stable democracies.