Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sending mixed messages: US foreign policy on democracy and stability

In an op-ed column in the October 31st edition of The Washington Post, Anne Applebaum writes about the United States government’s sometimes contradictory endorsement of both democracy and “status quo stability” globally, in light of the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Applebaum argues that despite the disastrous outcome of the 1956 rebellion, in which hundreds of Hungarians died at the hands of the Soviets, the US has done little to ensure that future democratic uprisings will be better supported. In 1956, after spending years using the media to spread anti-communist messages in the Eastern Bloc, the US failed to come to the aid of the Hungarians because, as John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State at the time, said, they were not seen as “potential allies.” Applebaum suggests that this same failure to act would be repeated today if a similar situation arose. In the case of a hypothetical democratic uprising in Saudi Arabia, for example, Applebaum postulates that while the “new democrats” would be praised, the Bush administration would still end up backing the Saudi royal family in an attempt to maintain stability and protect vested economic interests. This support of the status quo at the expense of furthering democracy is misguided, Applebaum writes, and continuing to espouse pro-democracy rhetoric while failing to come to the aid of those who rise up, threatens to further damage our national image in the Middle East and throughout the world.

For full article, click here


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