UNH Speakers Bureau
Can the United States Export Democracy?
Today we hear politicians, pundits, and the public grapple with this question, particularly as the United States struggles to guide democratization in Afghanistan and Iraq. This question is far from new, however. The US first became preoccupied with turning dictatorships into democracies in the 1940s, as it strived to reconstruct Germany and Japan. At the end of the Cold War, the US began to promote democratization in the developing world in myriad ways. In some cases the US encouraged democratization with carrots, dangling financial incentives in the faces of countries contemplating free and fair elections. In Panama and Iraq, the US used a stick, sending the electoral ballots in with the marines. Have these efforts worked? Can the US export democracy with carrots, sticks, or some combination of the two? Malone argues that the method of exporting democracy is not nearly as important as commitment: be it through the carrot or the stick, to export democracy successfully the United States must fully fund and staff its democratization efforts.