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The United States Should Not Intervene In Another Nations Struggle For Democracy Paul Zuo Jen Presley

Honors English III 21 December 2012 The virtues and advantages of American society are overwhelmingly popular internationally and the United States has inspired many countries to adopt government standards parallel to its own. The Middle East is an unstable region where the people do not have the civil rights that Americans proudly have. However, the current relation between Middle Eastern governments and the United States is one that is becoming increasingly strained. From the United States perspective, Irans pursuit of nuclear weapons is a direct threat, for the acquisition of such weapons would have austere fallbacks on American security. Diplomatic officials worry that democratic promotion in Iran would further destabilize an already volatile region. The United States diplomatic relationship with Yemen and Bahrain evinces a double standard. Yemen and Bahrain both have been ruled by royal families that are associated with a cultural minority and the people have suffered numerous human rights violations. In Bahrain, the human rights violations go unnoticed by the international community whereas Yemen, where there is not an American naval base, has attracted harsh criticism from the international community. While numerous examples from the Middle East show that American intervention for democracy is inconsistent, the consequences of intervention are manifold. The war on terror has ruined the goals of U.S. democracy promotion; it not only proves to be costly and loses the struggle for domestic needs, but promoting

democracy also comes short of its intentions, creating ameliorated authoritarian governments. Therefore, the United States of America should not intervene in another nations struggle for democracy. Even though the Middle East is one example of the capricious American foreign policy, it is part of a larger trend in U.S. intervention. Vietnam was an interesting example of failed U.S. democratic promotion. Noam Chomsky, author of the bestselling book Failed States, writes about the failed steps to invoke a successful democratic government in Vietnam. He suggests that the United States was not necessarily doing the foreign intervention for the interest of other countries but rather for its own interest. Chomsky writes, The real reasons for the assault on Indochina are conventional. Washington feared that an independent Vietnam might be a virus infecting others The United States was not prepared to lose the Pacific phase of World War II shortly after its military victory. This raises the question of whether the U.S. desire to promote their own interests is justified or not. Even larger in the picture of foreign intervention is the role of international law. Foreign intervention often leads to ubiquitous violations of a countrys rights and sets a bad precedent for addressing specific issues in the region. If intervention in Libya were supported, then that would also justify intervention in other Middle East nations where similar political situations are occurring. This foreign policy is associated with imperialism, for increased involvement of the U.S. and the Middle East reveals how the initial reasons that warrant foreign involvement typically lead to interests that are less altruistic and less humanitarian, such as exploiting natural resources.

There are manifold negative implications associated with promoting democracy in foreign countries. It takes apart the cultural and social traditions that are practiced and implements a new culture that is hard to be accustomed to. Adamantia Pollis, head of the political science department at John Hopkins University, elaborates, The ontological foundations of [African, Asian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern] cultures and society, often reinforced by the political regime on matters such as the nature of man and woman differ in significant ways. Belief systems, values, and basic concepts were and remain markedly different from those in the West. The desire to restrict these cultures involves the United States in a cultural and political imperialism that hurts the communities which intervention seeks to help. Some scholars believe that not only does democratic intervention eliminate the long-term reliability of the cultures, but it also restricts long-term personal rights. Acting on behalf of another country is simply not feasible in the long run. Historically proven, imperialism is dangerous since it exerts power over other nations and splits up their sovereignty, undermining their own capability to run a country. Michael Mandelbaum, professor at Johns Hopkins University, did a thorough research of the failure of the promotion of democracy, finding that democracy has developed in the past without any American assistance. He claims, The failure of Washingtons democracy promotion has not meant the failure of democracy itself. Recent foreign policy actions have reinforced this point; when the United States is not involved in promoting democracy abroad, they are under less criticism and are free to develop diplomatic relations. Intervention also destructs sovereignty and leads to instability. It is notable to examine how intervention often times undermines the regional strides for democracy.

Just last year, UN intervention in Bosnia only exacerbated the process of establishing a democracy. Furthermore, intervention also alters the extant nature of national sovereignty. Other countries find that America is pushing its power as an external authority and thus violating international law. Nonetheless, the transition to democracy leads to violent wars, which are likely to be exacerbated with U.S. intervention. Intervention will also create an unwanted shift of power in nations struggling for democracy. When Britain decided to leave the Persian Gulf, Iran and Saudi Arabia lost control of their governments. The new government that is set up for the countries struggling for democracy is often unprepared and lacks an effective leader. In Mansfield and Snyders Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go To War, they find that the transition to democracy is frequently associated with violent nationalism that raises the risk of war. Through U.S. intervention, Middle Eastern countries would be subject to heavy dependency; intervention will hurt sustainable democracies in the long run because it would undermine the reliability of the communities. Reflecting on past missions, no efforts at promoting democracy have been effective. The Bush Administrations failure to promote democracy in Iraq is an example. David Price of The Washington Quarterly elucidates, the most consequential mistake ahs been to assume that democracy could spring fully formed from the barrel of a gun, most notably in the case of Iraq. Bushs failure to avoid the errors of his predecessors, despite acknowledging and disavowing them, has also been damaging. Some argue that there is no correlation between democracy and war and that war can very well occur between two democracies, like India and Pakistan. Literature in the Middle East has propagated ideals of the downsides of American democratization.

Foreign politicians argue that there needs to be a direct statement of why democracy is not as ideal as Americans deem it to be and why it may produce more harm than good. Fareed Zakaria, professor at the University of Utah, uses Africa as an example and says that democracy has produced a degree of chaos and instability that has actually made corruption and lawlessness worse in many countries.

Moreover, the recent diplomatic motives of the United States to spread democracy have been corrupted by the war on terror and therefore should be rejected. Thomas Carothers, in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, explains that promoting democracy is just a cover up for altruistic motives, saying that there are security objectives playing a major role. Carothers believes that intervention in Afghanistan was clearly security driven and that the Bush administration had been unwilling to commit a sufficient level of forces to secure order, only allowing the Taliban to resurge in power. Such motives have lowered American credibility as a promoter of democracy. The Congressional Research Service has confirmed that promoting democracy is opposed by its beneficiaries, noting recent polling of Arab populations have revealed that even [Arabs]

who value freedom and democracy did not want [U.S.] assistance in promoting democracy in their country. This unflattering hypocrisy and unwavering spirit of selfrighteousness has had negative impacts on Americas influence in the international community. It often leads to Anti-American spirit in the countries that are being aided, which can lead to terrorism. It can also decrease Americas economy with less demand for goods and also it will decrease the influence of American foreign policy in the international community. The political cartoon shown above represents the attitude of the very countries that American foreign policymakers seek to aid. Despite opposition, policymakers are seemingly unyielding in their position to extend help to countries where they feel lack democracy. Also important in the consequence of promoting democracy is the high cost. The Congressional Research Service claims that the costs of promoting democracy are just too high. They say, high military and opportunity cost of some activities currently associated with democracy promotion is criticized by many observers, especially when democracy is imposed by outsiders rather than initiated by local citizens. Democracy promotion expenditures compete with domestic spending priorities. Critics note that using the various tools to promote democracy abroad, foreign aid, military intervention, diplomacy, and public diplomacy, can be very expensive and may provide little assurance that real long-term gains will be made. Involving in promoting democracy leads to maintaining costly long-term national development. The monthly cost of sustaining Americas democratic promotion in Iraq is estimated to be about ten billion U.S. dollars a month. American taxpayers are becoming increasingly frustrated as to why their money is going into such programs instead of domestic improvement. A majority of Americans

believe that the cost of maintaining the democratic promotion is just too much. Even though the United States spends over seventy billion dollars on promoting democracy abroad every year, the results, nonetheless, are capricious. Adam Silverman, columnist at the Fiscal Times, believes that U.S. foreign aid to promote democracy is associated with plenty of corruption. He writes, U.S. taxpayer dollars must serve their intended purpose. Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the subcommittee that provides money for foreign operations, claims that she plans to strip four billion dollars from the foreign aid given to Afghanistan to build a stronger democracy in response to allegations of corruption. Despite the falling economy, Obama still plans to increase foreign aid. Many fiscal officials warn of such a move to be disastrous to the American economy during a time of stressed economic measures. Not only does promoting democracy fail to achieve American interests but it also limits the American opportunity to achieve its foreign diplomatic interests. Middle Eastern governments have been subject to many political reforms in the past and yet little has changed. The governments have been able to circumvent the process of democratic promotion, for they have been able to adapt government models that are called liberalizing autocracy, which allows for open political measures, electoral justice and press arenas, but inevitably makes sure that the power of society stays within those already ruling the regimes. Brian Katulis, a researcher at the Century Foundation, notes that such a new system is just upgrading authoritarianism that manages to preserve the existing power structures. He even claims that despite the growth in Middle Eastern media, such as the internet and television, several authoritarian governments have taken steps to crack down on these independent news and information outlets.

Supporters of foreign intervention claim that it is a vital value of Americans, given that it actually promotes democracy. They also find that nations with a democracy are more beneficial to the United States. Some argue that citizens of the United States experience a freedom that must be spread to other countries where citizens do not have such freedom. It is statistically proven that democratic nations are less likely to suffer death from government and widespread famine. Furthermore, aids to foreign countries that are emerging democracies have solidified democracies. But beyond moral obligations, democratic countries can provide benefits such as international security. Foreign policymakers in congress believe that democracies are less likely to be belligerent with other democracies and are more likely to form coalitions for peace. Some economic benefit can also be made from establishing democracies, for economic ties can be made through democracies. Nusrat Choudhury, head representative of the Princeton Project on National Security, claims that intervention does not harm the economy, saying, terrorist attacks are rare relative to other dangers facing Americans working or traveling abroad. In addition, the increased emphasis on security due to terrorism and antiAmericanism may actually prove to be economically beneficial for some American firms. The same source reported that security and risk mitigation consulting firms and those specializing in armored vehicles have expanded rapidly in response to demand. Journalist William Easterly stresses that the U.S. benefits through increased imports. The reality of foreign intervention, however, is that intervention does not actually succeed in establishing a democracy and it is plain unnecessary. James Meernik, professor at the University of Texas, says, Democracy cannot be created. This statement is justified through historic failed American attempts to promote democracy in

countries where intervention made little difference in the previous governments. Meernik even finds that there are a handful of cases where democracy lost ground. By affirming foreign intervention to promote democracy, mass expenditures for little improvement are justified. Nonetheless, those supporting foreign intervention overlook the fact that regional threats in the Middle East do not pose an intrinsic threat to international security; therefore, aiding foreign countries is just unnecessary to the American security. While supporters of intervention argue that there are economic benefits associated with intervention, it is vital to recognize the inefficiency of intervention. Journalist Arthur Goldsmith writes, The coefficients suggest democracy and governance aid lacked a discernible effect in southwest Asia and northeast Africa, precisely where the democracy deficit is largest, confirming the broad view that Middle Eastern countries are particularly resistant to reform. The United States was founded upon the values of justice, liberty and equality. While it may seem ideal to spread these ideals, there are severe consequences that only restrict American opportunity and limit American reliability and credibility. With an economy that is at the brink of collapse, foreign intervention and democratic promotion are not feasible. Arguments that call for the United States to step back from democratic promotion are facing a more honest acknowledgement of the realities as a result of democracy promotion. Through the records of U.S. efforts, it is clear that the United States should not intervene in another nations struggle for democracy. Removing foreign promotion on democracy is the smartest and safest move for the United States and the nations that are in need of American aid.