Thursday, May 01, 2008
Kagan's Memory Problems
There are international institutions that gather together all the rich nations, there are groups of poor nations, there's an Islamic Conference. The one thing there doesn't seem to be is a group of democracies, getting together to discuss the issues of the day. I think that's something that's lacking in the present system, and one that could possibly do some good.
I think Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, for one, might find that statement problematic. When she spoke at the Seoul ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies back in 2002, she described this body as a "circle of democracies" that embraced some 140 countries. She went on to say,
We, the world’s democracies -- young and old, developed and developing -- stand together on the frontlines of freedom. Our growing Community of Democracies truly represents the world’s greatest hope.
And I have no doubt that the Plan of Action that results from these deliberations will identify concrete steps our governments can take -- individually, collectively and in partnership with non-governmental groups -- to keep Democracy’s hope strong and secure.
And let's not forget the Democracy Caucus at the UN, set up in 2005. The State Department tells us:
Democratic nations share a common commitment to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States believes that democratic nations must work more closely together in order to help the United Nations live up to its founding principles. The Democracy Caucus at the United Nations — a network of democratic nations working together — advances the work of the UN in areas such as human rights, good governance, and the rule of law.
The Democracy Caucus does not supplant longstanding regional or other groupings, but rather provides an added mechanism for like-minded democratic nations to cooperate. Countries use the Caucus as a supplementary network to cooperate on resolutions, on such areas as promoting democratic transitions, rule of law, and corruption-free societies.
Perhaps these two bodies have gone down the memory hole because they haven't really been able to bring the world's democracies into alignment and behind the United States. Fine; we can admit that these two bodies have not functioned as intended, but we should be honest about their drawbacks and not try to erase their very existence from the record.
By making it seem, though, that this idea of bringing together the "world's democracies" has NEVER BEEN TRIED, however, then one doesn't have to address the reasons why these two previous attempts--the COD and the Democracy Caucus--haven't worked.
They're hellbent on a second Cold War.
Fortunately, several other major countries are sane, to the US will wind up waging Cold War with no major allies, just noisy but powerless countries like Poland, Georgia, and the Balts as allies.
The Russians and Chinese aren't worried.
Moreover, since there is a lack of credible threat, US will have to finance this second Cold War by herself; and she no longer commands the resources to do so or to compell others to underwrite it.