Graham Allison and Robert Beschel
Can the United States Promote Democracy?
This essay addresses one principal question: Is it possible for the United States to promote democracy and political pluralism? Are there possible actions, programs, and policies to be undertaken -- or avoided -- that will advance democracy and pluralism abroad?
The law that authorizes U.S. spending to promote democracy in Eastern Europe in fact proposes even more ambitious objectives:
The President should ensure that the assistance provided to Eastern European countries pursuant to this Act is designed . . . to contribute to the development of democratic institutions and pluralism characterized by: (a) the establishment of fully democratic and representative political systems based on free and fair elections, (b) effective recognition of fundamental liberties and individual freedoms, including freedom of speech, religion, and association, (c) termination of all laws and regulations which impede the operation of a free press and the formation of political parties, (d) creation of an independent judiciary, and (e) establishment of non- partisan military, security, and police forces. 1