When George Walker Bush took the floor of the Senate for his 2005 State of the Union address and announced that, after 200 years of American Democracy, he was going to be the president who single-handedly spread democracy and ended tyranny throughout the world, fourth-graders everywhere were quoted as saying, “how cute!”
Well, the WaPo has an article up now detailing the dismal record of the Bush White House’s “Democracy Push” effort – what might fairly be called “The Democracy Surge” – and the utter lack of interest generated by any serious diplomats or bureaucrats in a position to foster such a move. Dubya is quoted as saying that he feels like he’s a “dissident president,” having been bucked by every serious statesman in the nation on this issue. Wow. When you want to spread peace and democracy throughout the world, nothing’s better than comparing the life of the most vacationed president in U.S. history to people who’ve risked getting their arms cut off. It shows that you have the proper perspective.
But, subtleties notwithstanding, the answer to why there is such resistance within the diplomatic and NGO community is really quite simple:
“They don’t want to do it, not because they’re evil but because they’re development people,” said a top official who works on democracy issues. “They want to inoculate children. They want to build schools. And to do that, they have to work with existing regimes. And you’re getting in their way.”
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