misnamed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is nothing more than
a costly program that takes US taxpayer funds to promote favored politicians
and political parties abroad. What the NED does in foreign countries,
through its recipient organizations the National Democratic Institute
(NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), would be rightly
illegal in the United States. The NED injects "soft money"
into the domestic elections of foreign countries in favor of one party
or the other. Imagine what a couple of hundred thousand dollars will
do to assist a politician or political party in a relatively poor country
abroad. It is particularly Orwellian to call US manipulation of foreign
elections "promoting democracy." How would Americans feel
if the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates
deemed friendly to China? Would this be viewed as a democratic development?
excellent study of the folly of the National Endowment for Democracy,
Barbara Conry notes that:
which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement,
is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment,
the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass
the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign
elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements...
controversy surrounding NED questions the wisdom of giving a quasi-private
organization the fiat to pursue what is effectively an independent foreign
policy under the guise of 'promoting democracy.' Proponents of NED maintain
that a private organization is necessary to overcome the restraints
that limit the activities of a government agency, yet they insist that
the American taxpayer provide full funding for this initiative. NED's
detractors point to the inherent contradiction of a publicly funded
organization that is charged with executing foreign policy (a power
expressly given to the federal government in the Constitution) yet exempt
from nearly all political and administrative controls...
the final analysis, the endowment embodies the most negative aspects
of both private aid and official foreign aid – the pitfalls of
decentralized 'loose cannon' foreign policy efforts combined with the
impression that the United States is trying to 'run the show' around
Endowment for Democracy is dependent on the US taxpayer for funding,
but because NED is not a government agency, it is not subject to Congressional
oversight. It is indeed a heavily subsidized foreign policy loose cannon.
its founding in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy has been
headed by Carl Gershman, a member of the neo-Trotskyite Social Democrats/USA.
that is one reason much of what NED has done in the former Communist
Bloc has ended up benefiting former communists in those countries. As
British Helsinki Human Rights Group Director Christine Stone has written:
and NDI) are largely funded by the National Endowment for Democracy
(NED) ... which, in turn, receive money from the American taxpayer.
Both have favoured the return to power of former high-ranking Communists
which has also meant co-opting foot-soldiers from the new left who have
extremely liberal ideas...
Gjinushi, speaker of the Albanian parliament, thanks the IRI for its
assistance in drafting the Albanian constitution in 1998. What the IRI
does not say is that Gjinushi was a member of the brutal Stalinist Politburo
of Enver Hoxha's Communist Party until 1990 and one of the main organizers
of the unrest that led to the fall of the Democratic Party government
in 1997 and the death of over 2000 people.
Stoyanov of Bulgaria drools: "Without IRI's support we could not
have come so far so fast." Indeed. Indeed. So far did they come
that Ivan Kostov (who supplies another encomium to IRI) was catapulted
from his job teaching Marxism-Leninism at Sofia University to being
prime minister of Bulgaria and a leader of "reform."
NED funded several initiatives aimed at defeating the freely-elected
government of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, who, interestingly, had
been persecuted by the previous Communist regime. After the election,
an IRI newsletter boasted that "IRI polls changed the nature of
the campaign," adding that IRI efforts secured "a victory
for reformers in Slovakia." What the IRI does not say is that many
of these "reformers" had been leading members of the former
Communist regime of then-Czechoslovakia. Is this democracy?
IRI president George A. Folsom last year praised a coup against Venezuela's
democratically-elected president, saying, "Last night, led by every
sector of civil society, the Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy
in their country." It was later revealed that the National Endowment
for Democracy provided funds to those organizations that initiated the
violent revolt in the streets against Venezuela's legal leaders. More
than a dozen civilians were killed and hundreds were injured in this
attempted coup. Is this promoting democracy?
The National Endowment for Democracy, by meddling in the elections and
internal politics of foreign countries, does more harm to the United
States than good. It creates resentment and ill-will toward the United
States among millions abroad. It is beyond time to de-fund this Cold
War relic and return to the foreign policy of our founders, based on
open relations and trade with all countries and free from meddling and
manipulation in the internal affairs of others.