by liberal japonicus
A few folks have lamented the absence of foreign policy posts, so I thought that some of you may be interested in discussing this article about the problems of US NGO's in other countries. A few grafs:
The Times reports that the United Arab Emirates has shut down the offices of the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit U.S. agency whose mission is to promote democracy around the globe. The NDI is often called an NGO, short for nongovernmental organization, which might leave some people a bit quizzical given that this particular NGO is funded to a significant extent by the U.S. government. But Wikipedia helpfully explains: "In cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding governmental representatives from membership in the organization."
Given the language of the Times story on the matter, by reporter Steven Lee Myers, one could get the impression that most people consider it the most natural thing imaginable for the U.S. government to fund organizations that send people into the world to spread democracy, even to the point of helping to foster revolutions in countries deemed insufficiently Jeffersonian. Myers calls the UAE decision "a surprising act of diplomatic defiance." He also labels it "especially provocative," given that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to arrive in the region shortly for talks with the UAE and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
On the other side? Well...
One contrarian voice on this issue is Patrick J. Buchanan, the conservative commentator (and member of the TNI advisory council), who argues that such activity is not only wrong but harmful to American interests. He asks: "Does the United States interfere in the internal affairs of nations to subvert regimes by using NGOs to funnel cash to the opposition to foment uprisings or affect elections? Are we using Cold War methods in countries with which we are not at war--to advance our New World Order?" He replies: "So it would seem."
I hate it when I have to agree with Buchanan. How about y'all?