The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Carnegie Endowment Policy Brief, 2002

This policy brief was released in October 2002 by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It is too long to reproduce in detail here; I will focus only on the guidelines they offer for successful democracy promotion.
Do not reflexively attempt to marginalize Islamist groups.
I guess the test case here is Sadr, not Sistani. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems that this was done about right, though it was grueling at the time.
Do not overemphasize support for westernized nongovernmental organizations and individuals with impeccable liberal credentials but little influence in their societies.
This may have been some of this in Bremer's CPA. The newer whole-hog approach has certainly not made this mistake.
Don't confuse a "sell America" campaign with democracy promotion.
Considering the sorry state of our efforts to sell America, this is sound advice.
Do not support lackluster institutional reform programs -- such as with stagnant parliaments and judiciaries -- in lieu of real political reform.
Account for major differences in political starting points and potential for political change. Shape policies accordingly.
This is why Iraq was such a compelling choice for the test bed of democracy.
Review carefully everything we have done so far in the name of democracy promotion.

All this aside, the money quote is from the editorial desk of the New York Times [sic]:
Recently President Bush demanded democratic reform from the Palestinians. Washington should support similar demands for the entire region. For too long, America embraced corrupt and autocratic Arab leaders, asking only that they accomodate Western oil needs and not make excessive trouble for Israel. As a result, too many young Arabs now identify the United States more readily with the repressive dictators it supports in the Middle East than with the tolerant democracy it practices at home. Islamic terrorist groups are adept at manipulating their anger and despair.