View Poll Results: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

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  • Yes, the United States has supported the democratization of allies and enemies alike

    2 5.26%
  • The United States has supported democracy as long as it doesn't conflict with its interests

    17 44.74%
  • The United States has only supported democracy when/where convenient for the United States

    15 39.47%
  • No, the United States has rarely/never supported democracy abroad

    4 10.53%
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Thread: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

  1. #1
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    Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    I'm not asking about your personal opinion of exporting democracy. Nor am I asking for a partisan bitchfest about whether Obama or Bush Administrations specifically supported democracy. I'm asking whether you believe the US government, regardless of the administration, has traditionally supported democracy in other nations.

    I think this is one of the biggest myths we Americans have about our own history, because I just don't see any historical evidence to support this idea. Sure, we support democracy in places where the incumbent authoritarian regime is hostile to us...but then, so do Russia and China, so it's hard to claim any moral high ground there. By the same token, we've never had any qualms about cozying up to dictators who wanted to be our friends.

    What do you think? Has the United States historically displayed a track record of supporting democratic movements abroad?
    Last edited by Kandahar; 03-16-11 at 11:07 AM.
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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    We support democracy when its convenient for us to do so. Same as any country, we maintain our ideals and principles when we can, but not all the time. And it wouldn't be fair to expect us to do that, we're not the world's moral police, we have our own citizens to look after.
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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    The U.S. only supports democracies/democratization when the elected leaders support its interests. The 1973 Chilean coup d'état and the 1953 Iranian coup d'état illustrate this since both leaders were democratically elected and then removed and replaced with military governments with the support of the United States since both democratically elected leaders worked against U.S. interests.

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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    There were many cases where we overthrew or promoted the overthrow of democratically elected leaders because we felt they were too communist leaning. For the most part, we talk the talk of supporting democracy, but we do not walk the walk. Afghanistan is the perfect example. They had a progressive, democratic government in the 1970s, but we felt they were too progressive, and helped the Taliban take over. We crushed a democracy and replaced it with a brutal theocracy so that it couldn't support the Soviet Union. We use spreading democracy as tool, just the same way we use bullets and rockets.
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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    We've supported democracy when it furthers out interests. We've supported dictators when it furthers our interests. Most of the time the talk of "supporting democracy" is a smoke screen to put a noble, altruistic face on actions motivated by a far more basic desire ... self interest.

    I also want to note, I don't have a problem with this. Nations SHOULD act in their own self interest. It is only natural because there is no effective governing body to restrain the pursuit of self interest. I happen to believe a policy that is generally non-interventionist would best serve our interests most of the time. One of the biggest problems for the US is we often start to believe our own propoganda and see ourselves as the messiah to a world that doesn't want our "help".
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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    You can look at America in 3 phases:

    1) The time before the World Wars when were isolationalists. We concerned ourselves with ourselves and did what we had to to protect trade interests abroad. The world was largely none of our business.

    2) The time of the Cold War when we assumed position around the globe. We found ourselves in a world we hardly knew and had only European lessons to go off of. Faced with a world full of Frankenstein Monster nations surrounded by unnatural borders, we got caught up playing the dictator game with the Soviet Union while preaching our ideals. The entire time, we also orchestrated the globalization of the world (one of our unique historical missions), but concerned ourselves more with regional "stabilities" at all costs. With tribes at each other's throats and carved into sections by bad borders, the dictator or authoritarian (much the same thing) was the easy fix. Of course, in nations (Europe) where democracy was already a foundation, we encouraged and assisted it's re-birth.

    3) In the post Cold War, Americans have been confused between our expressed wants for the world and our past behaviors abroad. They assume "Disney Land" is everywhere. And most unfortunate is that they can't figure out which America they prefer. Do they want great protector who merely chases dictators back behind their borders and preserves them? Do they want the great humanitarian who rushes into Somalia and Bosnia? Do they want the free world fist who rids the world of Cold War dictators and promotes democracy? Do they want an America that minds its own business and supports what ever government is provided, or not mind our own business and get involved on the government and social level (good luck getting a straight answer from our critics). Do they want to ignore civilizations screaming for democracy from their dictators who have outlived their Cold War expiration dates? Americans are caught between wanting to isolate in a globalized world that prevents it and between assuming the democratic leader of the free world we have been destined to be since the end of World War II.

    Actively supporting democracy is more about our ideology and our future than it is about our past behaviors. But people do prefer to live in the past don't they? People love to criticize our past while inadvertently choosing to remain there. Too many around the world criticize any American attempt to match our behaviors with our ideology (and plenty prefer we don't).

    Of course, there are exceptions here and there throughout this history, but the general truth stands. Standing up for democracy around the world is more our present and future..not our past.
    Last edited by MSgt; 03-18-11 at 03:01 PM.

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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    The simplest way I can put it:

    Modern westernized democracy > Corrupt dictatorship/absolute monarchy that accepts US aid > Wingnut religious-extremist regime led by charismatic firecracker with "99% approval rating".
    "No particular results then, so far, but only an attitude of orientation, is what the pragmatic method means. The attitude of looking away from first things, principles, 'categories,' supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts." - William James

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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I'm not asking about your personal opinion of exporting democracy. Nor am I asking for a partisan bitchfest about whether Obama or Bush Administrations specifically supported democracy. I'm asking whether you believe the US government, regardless of the administration, has traditionally supported democracy in other nations.

    I think this is one of the biggest myths we Americans have about our own history, because I just don't see any historical evidence to support this idea. Sure, we support democracy in places where the incumbent authoritarian regime is hostile to us...but then, so do Russia and China, so it's hard to claim any moral high ground there. By the same token, we've never had any qualms about cozying up to dictators who wanted to be our friends.

    What do you think? Has the United States historically displayed a track record of supporting democratic movements abroad?
    The US has not supported democracy abroad, as can be seen during the Cold War when the CIA and the US military were used to overthrow democratically elected governments in the 3rd world.
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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgblack View Post
    The simplest way I can put it:

    Modern westernized democracy > Corrupt dictatorship/absolute monarchy that accepts US aid > Wingnut religious-extremist regime led by charismatic firecracker with "99% approval rating".
    Haha {x/MWD>CAP>RX}
    We can graph that if you'd like

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  10. #10
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    Re: Has the United States historically supported democracy in other countries?

    ... you guys are aware that the ethical implication of your admissions is that the U.S. shouldn't have prosperity or freedom and that if our society collapses as a result of excessive intervention it is the "happy" ending of a morality tale. Remarkably casual tones considering the weightiness of the issue.

    Anyway, no, the United States hasn't consistently supported democracy.
    Last edited by Morality Games; 03-20-11 at 07:13 PM.
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