Monday, November 29, 2004


US involvement in foreign elections

I'm still catching up on Thanksgiving reading, including this article that my dear Aunt Deb sent me. It is basically about the US NGOs and quasi-NGOs (such as the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute) as well as the State Department and USAID that have been working to influence elections and their outcomes in places like Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and other former Soviet states. It seems that for all the ballyhoo about having international observers come for the election in the US (man, were people on talk radio pissed as hell about that or what?) we're pretty OK with setting up an infrastructure to dispute elections overseas. And by overseas, I mean specifically former Soviet nations. Because I think it's interesting to consider where this is happening and where it isn't. Of course, part of it must be that you can't influence an election or dispute an election where there is no election. But the Guardian article also says: "The places to watch are Moldova and the authoritarian countries of central Asia." I think it's interesting to think about central Asia. Because we are certainly okay with propping up Musharav in Pakistan. As well as the oppressive regime in Uzbekistan. It's hardly a bad thing to see fair elections in Ukraine, but I must admit that I get creeped out to know that there is all this US money behind it. And I get creeped out knowing that this is going on in some places and not in others and I want to know where it's happening and why it's happening (and don't tell me it's because we love democracy so goddamn much). Hmmm...

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