Posts filed under “War/Defense”

It is obvious that America has long supported dictators, instead of democracies, in developing countries.

Why?

Is it simply – as Noam Chomsky asserts – that America supports strong men who will ensure that their country acts as a “client state” to the U.S., and moves to crush countries which refuse to act as satellites to the U.S.?

Perhaps.

But – as usual – faulty economic models are part of the problem.

Specifically, Morton Halperin, Joe Siegel and Michael Weinstein co-wrote a book called The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace, published by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2005, which provides insight into the economic model used to justify America’s historic support for dictators.

Halperin is no outsider, being a high-level adviser in the Clinton, Nixon and Johnson administrations and to the Council on Foreign Relations. In the Johnson Administration, he worked in the Department of Defense where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs), responsible for political-military planning and arms control. During the first nine months of the Nixon administration, Halperin was a Senior Staff member of the National Security Council staff with responsibility for National Security Planning. In the Clinton administration, he served Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State, the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy at the National Security Council, and consultant to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He was nominated by the President for the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Democracy and Peacekeeping.

Halperin, Siegel and Weinstein gave a speech at the Carnegie Foundation in 2005 explaining their research findings.

Halperin noted:

Successive American presidents have said, particularly since the end of the Cold War, that a major goal of American foreign policy was to spread or enlarge or enhance democracy, and that our foreign policy was geared to supporting those who were struggling to establish and maintain democratic regimes.

Yet if you look at development assistance from the United States, from the international financial institutions, and even from the Europeans and the European Community, you find that there is no democracy advantage. That is, democratic countries, in fact, receive less development assistance than do non-democratic countries. You also find in the rhetoric, and even the charters, of development agencies a belief that democracy is not their business. They increasingly talk about good governance as one aspect of development, but not about democracy. The people who run USAID believe that their job is to promote development, and not democracy. That permits them to consider good-governance issues, but not to ask the fundamental question: Is this a democratic society that we want to support?

Indeed, the international financial institutions have, with one exception, charters which require them not to take account of whether a country is a democracy, or as it is referred to in the charters, its political criteria.

Underlying this policy of governments and international financial institutions is a belief about how democracy relates to development. There is a widely held view that poor countries need to delay democracy until they develop. Back when I was in college, this was the Scandinavian view of democracy, that only Scandinavian countries were capable of being democratic, and that you needed to have a solid middle class before you could contemplate democracy. The argument went—as presented in the writings of Samuel Huntington and Seymour Martin Lipset —that if a poor country became democratic, because of the pressures in a democracy to respond to the interests of the people, they would borrow too much, they would spend the money in ways that did not advance development—arguments that the current president of Mexico is making about his possible successor. These poor decisions would mean that development would not occur; and because people would then be disappointed, they would return to a dictatorship.

Therefore, the prescription was, get yourself a benign dictator—it was never quite explained how you would make sure you had a dictator that spent the money to develop the country rather than ship it off to a Swiss bank account—wait until that produces development, which produces a middle class, and then, inevitably, the middle class will demand freedom, and you will have a democratic government.

That proposition was wrong.

Siegel picked up from there. Siegel is a Senior Research Scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, and an expert on the political economy of democratic transitions , who has contributed articles to leading policy journals and newspapers including Foreign Affairs , Harvard International Review , Georgetown Journal for International Affairs, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Newsweek International, Wall Street Journal, and The International Herald Tribune. Siegel was also a high-level researcher for the CFR.

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Category: Politics, Think Tank, War/Defense

Is Mark Zuckerberg a Modern Day Moses?

Time’s Man of the Year.  Now the new Moses?  The guy who’s invisible connectivity community helped bring down the Pharaoh of Egypt.  Mark Zuckerberg getting credit for Egypt’s revolution?   We were stunned last night as we watched Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer interview the de facto leader of Egypt’s revolution, the “Google Ganhdi,” Wael…Read More

Category: War/Defense, Web/Tech

Mubarak Gone . . .

This is already old  news, but here is a quick round up of Egypt headlines: •  Al Jazeera English: Live Stream • Egypt’s joy as Mubarak quits (Guardian) • Mubarak Resigns, Delegates Affairs to Army (WSJ) • Why Mubarak is Out (Ratigan) • Egypt’s Mubarak Resigns, Hands Power to Military (Bloomberg) • Mubarak Steps Down,…Read More

Category: Financial Press, War/Defense

American Warships Heading to Egypt

Washington’s Blog strives to provide real-time, well-researched and actionable information.  George – the head writer at Washington’s Blog – is a busy professional and a former adjunct professor. ~~~ Connecticut’s newspaper The Day noted on January 24th: Connecticut National Guard Detachment 2, Company I, 185th Aviation Regiment of Groton has mobilized and will deploy to…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Egypt and Democracy

To friends and colleagues on the bcc list. The American sense of democracy, human rights, transparent government and the rest of the list we all know pulls me in favor of the inevitable (now) changes coming in most of the autocratic regimes in the Middle East. But the issue of what the new regimes will…Read More

Category: War/Defense

Results: Egypt Crisis Poll

> Above you see the results from our Egypt Poll. The widget I used is pretty cool — from a company whose Board I am on called Democrasoft. Their Collaborize product is a unique mash up of a survey and comment system. It allows the normally rambling, non-resolved comment stream to produce an actual result….Read More

Category: War/Defense, Web/Tech

Intelligence Guidance: The Situation in Egypt

When protests started in Egypt last week, mainstream news outlets cried “democracy!” and compared the situation in Egypt to the Berlin Wall and Tienanmen Square. Meanwhile, STRATFOR (an intelligence company I’ve followed for years) spoke of a different possibility.  At the time it may have been counter-intuitive for most institutions to draw parallels to 1979…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Open Thread: How Will the Egypt Situation End?

The situation in Egypt continues to rivet news watchers. How might this end? What does this mean for the rest of region, for the concept of Democracy in the Mid-East, for other strongmen holding on to power, for the global economy, the price of Oil, and for stock markets? Please write what you think is…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, War/Defense

Washington’s Blog strives to provide real-time, well-researched and actionable information.  George – the head writer at Washington’s Blog – is a busy professional and a former adjunct professor. ~~~ Former Director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center: American Policy in the Middle East is Failing Because the U.S. Doesn’t Believe in Democracy: Robert Grenier – a…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Fault Lines: Ride of the Valkyries

Fault Lines: Ride of the Valkyries Jawad Mian 1 February 2011 > The following was written by Jawad Mian, Portfolio Manager based in Doha, Qatar ~~~ The script hasn’t changed. It always begins with an economic crisis that weakens social and political orders. People erupt into violent protests as problems surface to an extent that…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense