Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Critics at the UN

Given the U.S.-Bolivia spat, we would expect Evo Morales to rip the Bush administration at the UN meetings. And he didn't disappoint. But it turns out there's this huge line because everybody around the world wants to take their turn saying how much the administration has screwed up.


boz 7:30 AM  

Cristina Kirchner gets credit for the "jazz crisis" line from that article. That was funny and well deserved.

Miguel Centellas 11:30 AM  

Is the Pax American permanently over? And will a multipolar world be friendlier to human rights & liberal democracy than US hegemony?

Greg Weeks 11:31 AM  

It seems to me that "Pax" is long gone...

Miguel Centellas 1:34 PM  

Yeah, I guess that's true. But is unipolarity gone?

Miguel Centellas 1:35 PM  

(I think Pax Americana or unipolarity is over; I'm not so sure the immediate short term prospects are good for human rights or liberal democracy.)

Greg Weeks 1:44 PM  

It doesn't have to be negative for democracy. In fact, in the Latin American case, we see that UNASUR is both rejecting U.S. power and contributing to democracy.

Anonymous,  5:48 PM  

It is somewhat ironic to see all of the criticism aimed at the US when Latin America would have few democracies were it not for US support for democracy through the Cold War. Memories are short.

Greg Weeks 5:50 PM  

That is true, if you know nothing about Latin America during the Cold War.

Anonymous,  5:51 PM  

Yeah they showed a lot of support for Chile's, Brazil's and Argentina's democracies during the Cold War, didn't they - not!

Greg Weeks 5:51 PM  

Give me a sense, though. What books lead you to that conclusion?

Anonymous,  6:07 PM  

The existence of communist Cuba, which during the cold war, was a real threat to stability in the western hemisphere.

The support for Chile against communist meddling in the 1960s and 70s.

The support for Colombia during its 50 year civil war.

I am no expert, but there you have two concrete examples of countries that would be communist today were it not for US support during tough times. That ought to be worth something.

Greg Weeks 6:13 PM  

You are right. You are no expert. But again, from where did your theories come?

Anonymous,  6:26 PM  

Tell me where Colombia or Chile would be politically without US support during their respective crises.

My theories come from talking to real Chileans and Colombians about their perspectives on their countries. As for books, I can't suggest any, although I would suggest reading Maria Anastasia O'Grady's columns, or talking to anyone in the business community in any of the above mentioned countries.

Greg Weeks 6:32 PM  

Both would be more democratic and have far fewer dead. For Chile, read the declassified documents at National Security Archive, and for Colombia just read anything by someone with a brain. If you think that is O'Grady or the "business community," it shows your belief that a tiny minority reflects Latin America as a whole. To your detriment.

I am done with this. If you enjoy ignorance, and refuse to go beyond the WSJ and your business friends, then knock yourself out.

Anonymous,  10:34 PM  

although I would suggest reading Maria Anastasia O'Grady's columns,


Thy name is tendentiousness.

Anonymous,  10:39 PM  

I might also add, the brutal military government in Chile had their secret police commit the only act of state-sponsored terrorism in Washington, DC; an act that resulted in the death of a US citizen.

It happened September 1976. Google the names Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.

The man behind the Chilean dictatorship turned out in his final years to have any number of secret bank accounts under false names throughout the world and only escaped judgment through his taking a long overdue dirt nap.

Please dear God, read something other than the WSJ. Try the Economist; at least they were reasonably honestabout Pinochet.

Miguel Centellas 8:55 AM  

You're right, UNASUR is definitely promoting democracy. And I didn't mean to suggest that the US has a sterling history of democracy promotion. I only meant that some of the most likely alternatives to US hegemony (Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela) aren't necessarily friendly to liberal democracy these days. Other (Japan, the EU, Australia, India), of course, are.

Anonymous,  9:44 AM  

Mike A. is confusing the meaning of democracy with ´´neoliberal democracy´´.

Socialist democracies are just as much democracies as neoliberal market ones.

As far as multipolarity vs unipolarity, Mcentellas is right in suggesting that some of the alternatives are flawed and less than promising when it comes to democracy and human rights.

But he overestimates US commitment to democracy and human rights. Let me use his comment about Iran as an example. While Iran is certainly imperfect, if you take an unbiased look at states in the middle east, you can argue that Iran has been and is the most democratic state in existence there, and WAY more democratic than US allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Anonymous,  9:48 AM  

One final point - if the business community is such a "tiny minority" as you suggested below, the right would never win elections in Latin America. Recent results in Colombia and Mexico prove otherwise, and elections in the not-too-distant past in Brazil and Argentina (among others) would also demonstrate this point. The right is not as tiny a minority as you suggest.

Anonymous,  9:55 AM  

Kelby raises a fair point. The US does not necessarily support democracies. It supports governments that are friendly to the US. Sometimes these are democracies, and sometimes they are not (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc). I guess my point would have better stated had I said that Chile and Colombia would be far less friendly today without US support in the past. I suppose one could argue that support for non-democratic regimes was a means to an end, meaning that in the end, these countries become democratic AND friendly to the US. As I have stated in a previous post, countries act only in their best interest, and we should not expect them to behave otherwise.

Greg Weeks 9:57 AM  

I have never argued that the right is a tiny minority.

Greg Weeks 9:58 AM  

Better stated, the business community is a tiny minority, but the right is not. They are not synonymous.

Miguel Centellas 12:32 PM  

Just to clarify: By "liberal democracy" I also include both "neoliberal" and "social" democracies, so long as they meet the requirements for polyarchy.

At best, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran are electoral competitive regimes. China is note even an electoral competitive regime. Despite it's pretense as a "communist" state, it more closely resembles Pinochet's Chile than any kind of socialist regime.

I'm well aware that the US doesn't always live up to its rhetoric regarding democracy & human rights. I'm merely pointing out that many of the likely "balancers" in this multipolar world aren't going to do a better job, either.

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