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April 16, 2006

Promoting Democracy -- From Rhetoric to Reality

From Pro Forma:

One of the most important steps in transforming something -- such as "promote democracy" from the area of theory-idea-normative to the arena of practice-structure/institution-description -- is to actually change the institutions. This is an important lesson the commies certainly understood; perhaps Gramsci's description of "marching through the institutions" is most illustrative. The lesson is one Democrats understand, and implement quite well in American politics: party loyalty is important, and once in power, they -- for the most part -- adhere to "the party line" and end up governing. Republicans don't seem to understand this, and as Newt Gingrich keeps pointing out, Republicans are still more habituated to criticism and apology rather than running things as if they really were in charge, and even though they control both White House and both chambers of Congress -- they do not govern well.

Looking at the transformation of the Democratic Peace from theory to practice has been frustrating in American politics. Look at the Clinton administration's use of democracy rhetoric: it figured prominently in the National Security Strategy document (promoting democracy was one of the three pillars of Clinton's American foreign policy), and Secretary of State Albright did good "democracy talk." But the Clinton administration did little as far as actually changing the institutions of foreign policy to make promoting democracy a structural -- not just rhetorical -- reality.

(Continued here)



Posted by Rudy at April 16, 2006 9:46 PM





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