US 'Democracy Promotion' Destroys Democracy Overseas

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Published : March 24th, 2014
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Category : Editorials

It was almost ten years ago when, before the House International Relations Committee, I objected to the US Government funding NGOs to meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine. At the time the "Orange Revolution" had forced a regime change in Ukraine with the help of millions of dollars from Washington.

At that time I told the Committee:

We do not know exactly how many millions -- or tens of millions -- of dollars the United States government spent on the presidential election in Ukraine. We do know that much of that money was targeted to assist one particular candidate, and that through a series of cut-out non-governmental organizations (NGOs) -- both American and Ukrainian -- millions of dollars ended up in support of the presidential candidate...

I was worried about millions of dollars that the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various related organizations spent to meddle in Ukraine's internal affairs. But it turns out that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Last December, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland gave a speech in which she admitted that since 1991 the US government has:

[I]nvested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine...in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government.

This is the same State Department official who was caught on tape just recently planning in detail the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

That five billion dollars appears to have bought a revolution in Ukraine. But what do the US taxpayers get, who were forced to pay for this interventionism? Nothing good. Ukraine is a bankrupt country that will need tens of billions of dollars to survive the year. Already the US-selected prime minister has made a trip to Washington to ask for more money.

And what will the Ukrainians get? Their democracy has been undermined by the US-backed coup in Kiev. In democracies, power is transferred peacefully through elections, not seized by rebels in the streets. At least it used to be.

The IMF will descend on Ukraine to implement yet another of its failed rescue plans, which enrich the well-connected and international bankers at the expense of the local population. The IMF adds debt, organizes sweetheart deals for foreign corporations, and demands that the local population accept "austerity" in exchange for "reform" that never seems to produce the promised results.

The groundwork for this disaster has been laid by NED, USAID, and the army of NGOs they have funded over the years in Ukraine.

Supporters of NED and its related organizations will argue that nothing is wrong with sending US dollars to "promote democracy" overseas. The fact is, however, that NED, USAID, and the others have nothing to do with promoting democracy and everything to do with destroying democracy.

It is not democracy to send in billions of dollars to push regime change overseas. It isn't democracy to send in the NGOs to re-write laws and the constitution in places like Ukraine. It is none of our business.

How should we promote democracy overseas? First, we should stop the real isolationists -- those who seek to impose sanctions and blockades and restrictions that impede our engagement overseas. We can promote democracy with a US private sector that engages overseas. A society that prospers through increased trade ties with the US will be far more likely to adopt practices and policies that continue that prosperity and encourage peace.

In 2005, arguing against funding NED in the US foreign assistance authorization bill, I said:

The National Endowment for Democracy...has very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas. It underwrites color-coded 'people's revolutions' overseas that look more like pages out of Lenin's writings on stealing power than genuine indigenous democratic movements.

Sadly, matters are even worse now. To promote democracy overseas, NED and all other meddling US government funded NGOs should be disbanded immediately.

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Ron Paul,

Once again I repeat for you personally, no Americans nor Obama participated in the overthrow of the power of Yanukovych, it drove the people of Ukraine. Putin spent three billion dollars plus lowering gas prices to help Yanukovych remain in vlasti.On completely plundered the country with his sons and shamefully fled to Russia because Putin friend to all the bandits. And Yanukovych tried twice and have a real bandit.Ego in prison. By the way, some politicians in Russia are already dreaming append Alaska, say America has not has paid to the former Tsar of Russia from the territory of Alaska. Soon it will be similar to the territorial issue and you in America, as we have today in the Ukraine and the Crimea. How do you you such a prospect? So all you're saying is all wrong deception. The same arguments and Mr. Putin, but you have the same legally elected President Obama, not Putin.
Leonid, Ukraine
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1. The word democracy does NOT exist in the US Constitution.
2. Article IV section 4 guarantees a Republican form of government.

Ergo any promotion of a democracy by the US is the antithesis of the Constitution.

You know, a whole bunch of the US problems can be solved by the total elimination of corporations. Turn all corporations into LLC partnerships.
Then most supposed US interests overseas are substantially reduced.
Current US foreign policy is driven by corporate interest.
How many NGOs could survive without the tax benefits afforded by some form of 501(c) status?
How many NGOs could survive overseas without US protection of corporations.
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Mr. Paul, it's very true in that American has always been considered the champions for Democracy, but over the years that old brand of Democracy has been altered. Those countries like Japan, Germany & S. Korea experienced and welcomed American Democracy because they could see we practiced it. Now we just loosely use the term, our leaders openly violate democratic values, so the world is thumbing their noses at us as fake, hypocritical "do-gooders".
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1. The word democracy does NOT exist in the US Constitution. 2. Article IV section 4 guarantees a Republican form of government. Ergo any promotion of a democracy by the US is the antithesis of the Constitution. You know, a whole bunch of the US probl  Read more
overtheedge - 3/24/2014 at 7:10 PM GMT
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