The Taming of Democracy Assistance: Why Democracy Promotion Does Not Confront Dictators
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Few government programs that aid democracy abroad today seek to foster regime change. Technical programs that do not confront dictators are more common than the aid to dissidents and political parties that once dominated the field. What explains this 'taming' of democracy assistance? This book offers the first analysis of that puzzle. In contrast to previous research on democracy aid, it focuses on the survival instincts of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that design and implement democracy assistance. To survive, Sarah Bush argues that NGOs seek out tamer types of aid, especially as they become more professional. Diverse evidence - including three decades of new project-level data, case studies of democracy assistance in Jordan and Tunisia, and primary documents gathered from NGO archives - supports the argument. This book provides new understanding of foreign influence and moral actors in world politics, with policy implications for democracy in the Middle East.
manuscript and offered critiques that forced me to sharpen my thinking and writing in significant ways. Mark Buntaine, Judith Kelley, Amanda Murdie, Tsveta Petrova, and Hans Peter Schmitz also provided detailed and highly constructive comments on the penultimate draft of the book. I am fortunate to work in a field with such smart and generous colleagues. Comments benefited this project at a number of other venues. I am especially indebted to seminar attendees at Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and
happened in the counterfactual case – if USAID had not provided KANU with a new resource for patronage. The example of foreign aid to Kenya in the 1990s plausibly shows, however, how incumbents can manipulate legislative aid to subtly strengthen their hold on power. More than a decade later, American legislative-assistance efforts continued to run into similar problems thousands of miles away. USAID delegated the American company Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) to implement a $5.6 million
way of “shamming the appearance of democratic struggle” to audiences such as the Council of Europe, a program that enhances its parliament’s professionalism and reputation seems to play into the regime’s survival strategy.59 Women’s groups Aid to women’s groups, a measurable and regime-compatible strategy, can also reinforce authoritarianism. Although such groups are often service-delivery organizations, funding them has been an important dimension of democracy assistance for many democracy
democracy assistance has become “bad.” Rather, following the definition of “tame” in the Oxford English Dictionary, I seek to understand how and why democracy assistance has been “reclaimed from the wild state,” becoming in the process less adventurous and overtly political.9 Most research on foreign influence emphasizes the importance of Western states’ self-interests and target states’ characteristics in determining variations in types of international pressure. Rather than only examining
offices design and implement democracy-assistance projects that are largely funded by the United States government. Such programs support the rule of law, strengthen civil society organizations, and encourage women’s political participation, among other things. Staff also advance Freedom House’s mission through research, including through creating indices measuring aspects of democracy. The organization’s domestic activities ceased long ago, and its international programs have also 1 2 Interview