A discussion on the benefits of the United States nurturing democracy in other countries may seem a bit quaint. Democracy promotion has lost much of its luster in the 25+ years since the fall of communism. As we have discussed, the last ten years has seen backsliding on democracy and the rule of law in a number of countries, including in the former USSR, eastern Europe, and Latin America.
And now, we have a president who is an avowed opponent of promoting democracy abroad and openly admires a number of authoritarian foreign leaders. With other wealthy democracies turning inwards and/or experiencing their own domestic crises of faith in liberal democracy, at the very least democracy promotion will lack global leadership for the rest of this decade.
So, what? Beyond being kind of noble, is the cause of spreading liberal democracy also practical and in the American interest? If so, how can it be made more effective, especially in bang-for-the-buck terms, since not much money is devoted to it?
We have discussed these issues before, most recently in 2016. Here are a few other optional background readings. See you Monday.
SUGGESTED BACKGROUND READING –
Should we promote democracy Y/N?
- Sure, but given our past failures we should stop expecting much success.
- Long/optional: Yes, done right it is a vital progressive cause.
Has Trump abandoned democracy promotion?
- Update Sunday: Trump is a “body blow” to democracy promotion but he can’t reverse everything we’re trying to do.
- He despises it. But the U.S. Govt does promote democracy and rule of law – Trump just probably hasn’t noticed! Recommended.
How to promote democracy
- Institutions matter way more than elections. Recommended. Also, economic development has to come first.
- Ultimately, democracy requires six preconditions.
- The way we’ve done globalization hinders democracy. Interesting.
- A harsh condemnation of neoconservatism as imperialism, not democracy promotion. (Lefty)
- Long/highly optional: We should quietly promote “civil society” abroad and some day it will bear fruit.
NEXT WEEK: U.S. conservatism: What does it stand for now?