A few months ago, I remember all the hype and hoopla surrounding the so called "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine. Don't get me wrong, I liked that the Ukrainians were able to select their own government. What's better - the people showed up in active force when it looked like there might have been election fraud and demanded that those whom they elected to serve them better. This is how citizenry ought to be.
However, there were certain aspects of the story that never really came to full-light... which I found darkly humourous. The "Orange Revolution" is falling apart. Yulia Timoschenko - she who was widely publicised for her political accumen as much as for her good looks - has been dismissed. Charges of corruption are rife. The "reformist pro-west" Yuschenko is mirred in controversy and corruption. (Hey! Any man who stands up to the 'big bad Russian bear' must be good right?)
Take a look : http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/15/news/ukraine.php
That's just one story among the dozens that have emerged over the past few weeks.
Why does this rankle so?
Refer Rep. Ron Pauls prophetic speech 2 years ago:
[font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Federal House of Representatives, October 7, 2003
[font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Mme. Speaker: I rise to express my grave concerns over H.Con.Res. 274. The misnamed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is nothing more than a costly program that takes US taxpayer funds to promote favored politicians and political parties abroad. Mr. Speaker, what the NED does in foreign countries, through its recipient organizations the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), would be rightly illegal in the United States. The NED injects "soft money" into the domestic elections of foreign countries in favor of one party or the other. Imagine what a couple of hundred thousand dollars will do to assist a politician or political party in a relatively poor country abroad. It is particularly Orwellian to call US manipulation of foreign elections "promoting democracy." How would Americans feel if the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates deemed friendly to China? Would this be viewed as a democratic development?
[font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]
[font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Complete article
[font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Just what exactly is the National Endowment for Democracy you ask?
[font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Take a look here
I quote just one example:
Sometimes NED grants have worked in ways that are simply bizarre. In the mid-1980s, for example, the AFL CIO's FTUI approved a grant of $1.5 million to defend democ racy in France, which was astonishing for several reasons. First of all, French democracy in the 1980s did not appear to be so fragile that it required financial assistance from American taxpayers to sustain itself. The government of FranŠois Mitterrand was duly elected within a democratic system nearly as old as America's. The AFL-CIO, however, determined that France's socialist government was permitting a dangerous rise of communist influence. According to the late Irving Brown, Paris-based director of international relations for the AFL-CIO at the time of the incident: "France . . . is threatened by the Communist apparatus. . . . It is a clear and present danger if the present is thought of as 10 years from now."(15)
That mentality has resulted in AFL-CIO support for highly controversial causes. One of the French groups that received funding, the National Inter-University Union, was widely viewed as a cauldron of rightist extremism and xenophobia and rumored also to have ties to terrorists.(16) Sure ly, the U.S. government did not intend to fund authoritarian groups that work to undermine the government of a stable democratic nation.
Indeed, when NED's activities in France were publicized in an expose by the French newspaper Lib«ration, the U.S. government disassociated itself from the endeavor. While no serious rift in American-French relations seems to have resulted from that diplomatic faux pas, it certainly illustrates the peril of allowing the AFL-CIO (or any other private group) to pursue an independent foreign policy with taxpayers' money.
Having said that, I predict that this thread will not get more than a dozen replies and will sink to obscurity in a weeks time (if it lasts that long).
I have come to the conclusion that we simply don't give a damn that we are meddling in what is essentially the internal affairs of other nations, and that this interference potentially breeds resentment. We will all collectively wring our hands, comment that it is a crying shame and proceed to do absolutely nothing about it.
I mean, really, what does it matter to you or I that our tax monies are being spent on such matters?