Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Serious About Democracy?
Or is it because Russia has become less accommodating on a number of key security issues for the United States, its domestic faults are now given greater prominence.
We had a forum last month on Paul Saunder's piece on democracy promotion. Tom Carothers made some points there that he reiterates in a piece that will appear in the forthcoming issue of National Interest (and excerpted now on NI online). He notes:
Of course there is some pro-democracy substance in Bush’s foreign policy beyond the partial push for democracy in the Middle East. The administration has exerted pressure for democratic change on several authoritarian regimes, using the bully pulpit, economic sanctions and democracy aid. Such pressure has been directed at various governments—including those of Belarus, Burma and Cuba—where the United States has no countervailing economic or security fish to fry. In several other cases the administration has exerted pressure on governments it views as security threats, such as those of Iran, North Korea and Syria. In such cases, however, whatever pro-democracy interest lies behind such pressures is derivative of a security-driven, regime-change instinct.
It might be said that this pre-dated the president's remarks in Europe this week. And right on schedule, and keeping true to form, what countries did the president identify: Belarus, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran and Syria. (In fairness to Tom, he did mention Zimbabwe at the event, even if he did not in the print version).
The most repressive Muslim state is Saudi Arabia, I see but friendliness from US, EU, Japan and others towards her.