The Democracy Makers

Article excerpt

THE DEMOCRACY MAKERS Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order Nicolas Guilhot New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. 274pp, US$47.50 cloth (ISBN 0231131240)

Since the end of the second World War, a dominant foreign policy objective of the United States and other western powers has been the promotion of human rights and democracy as part of a "democratic international"-a counterweight to communism and socialism (Communist International) and now largely against Islamic fundamentalism since the 19905. In this significant study, Nicolas Guilhot critically examines the principles of democracy and human rights and their exploitation by the United States government, its foreign policy and intelligence networks, the World Bank and other international financial institutions, university researchers and think tanks, NGOs, and several international organizations.

Guilhot's book is an evolution of his PhD dissertation completed at the European University Institute of Florence, Italy. In his introductory chapter, the author asserts that "with the end of the Cold War, democracy and human rights have become the organizing principles of a new international order" and almost a prerequisite for the legitimacy of national, sovereign, and international political entities. Democracy is, therefore, emerging as a universal right, or "a global entitlement." This segment also presents an organizational chart of the book. The first chapter provides an account of the origin of the western democracy movement as a global alternative with its ideological base against the communist model. The national endowment for democracy (NED) established under President Ronald Reagan's administration appears in this chapter as the first serious strategy by neoconservatives as the hijackers of the democracy and human rights movement. The second chapter-while a detailed anatomy of the NED-acquaints us with the ideological struggle between liberal human rights advocates and the neoconservatives in the Reagan White House who were determined to swing the US foreign policy and the principles of democracy and human rights to a radical right orientation. The author also analyzes the various dominant western notions of democratization, modernization, and economic and political development of the 19505 and 19605. …

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