The Taming of Democracy Assistance coverEvery year scores of official aid agencies, foreign ministries, international organizations, transnational non-governmental organizations, private foundations, and for-profit development organizations design, fund, and implement thousands of projects aimed at advancing democracy in over one hundred countries, spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion. Multiply this annual activity by the fact that such assistance has been underway now for more than thirty years (although it was a smaller field in its early years) and it becomes evident that the total amount of activity making up the domain of democracy assistance is enormous.

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Democracy Promotion National Security and Strategy coverIn Democracy Promotion, National Security and Strategy: Foreign Policy under the Reagan Administration, Robert Pee explores the United States’ attempts to promote democracy abroad during the Reagan administration. The title of Pee’s book captures a central challenge Washington faced with this issue not only during the 1980s but also throughout the Cold War after 1945. Security considerations frequently clashed with efforts to promote democracy, representative government, and human rights versus authoritarian regimes that were allied with the U.S. around the globe. After an overview of the emergence of democracy promotion and its relationship to U.S. Cold War policies under containment and a discussion of problems that disrupted cooperation between Washington and private groups as well as a decline in support for modernization as an effective solution, Pee focuses on debate within the Reagan administration on how to integrate the promotion of democracy with U.S. foreign policy goals, most notably the perception of increased challenges of communism aided by the Soviet Union spreading in the Southern hemisphere. In several chapters Pee explores the debate within the Reagan administration over how to respond to issues such as the effort by the Polish government in 1981 to ban the Solidarity labor movement and whether the effort to promote democracy should be aimed at reinforcing Washington’s national-security goal of challenging the Soviet Union and regimes identified as Communist allies of Moscow from Fidel Castro’s Cuba to the new Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and the Soviet- and Cuban-backed government in Angola.

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