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Monitor Board of Contributors: Democracy’s tragic strategic lapse

  • Ukrainian Maria, 23, right, and Vanui, 22, hold posters against Russia's military intervention in Crimea, in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Russia's parliament approved a motion to use the country's military in Ukraine after a request from President Vladimir Putin as protests in Russian-speaking cities turned violent Saturday, sparking fears of a wide-scale invasion. The poster in the right side reads in Ukrainian: "I am from Russia, please protect me and remove the weapons and soldiers from Ukraine." (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    Ukrainian Maria, 23, right, and Vanui, 22, hold posters against Russia's military intervention in Crimea, in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Russia's parliament approved a motion to use the country's military in Ukraine after a request from President Vladimir Putin as protests in Russian-speaking cities turned violent Saturday, sparking fears of a wide-scale invasion. The poster in the right side reads in Ukrainian: "I am from Russia, please protect me and remove the weapons and soldiers from Ukraine." (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

  • A woman passes by a barricade in a street heading to Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Relieved investors sent stocks sharply higher Tuesday after Russia pulled troops back from the border of Ukraine. The rally erased steep losses from Monday caused by fears an escalating conflict. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    A woman passes by a barricade in a street heading to Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Relieved investors sent stocks sharply higher Tuesday after Russia pulled troops back from the border of Ukraine. The rally erased steep losses from Monday caused by fears an escalating conflict. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

  • Pro Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.  Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Pro Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

  • A Ukrainian man wearing camouflage uniform yawns as he asks for donations to support the Ukrainian military with the slogan on box reading "collecting money for Cossacks' needs", at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.  Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's border to return to their bases as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as troops loyal to Moscow fired warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. Cossacks were originally a 14th century military force predominantly living in Ukraine and southern Russia. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    A Ukrainian man wearing camouflage uniform yawns as he asks for donations to support the Ukrainian military with the slogan on box reading "collecting money for Cossacks' needs", at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's border to return to their bases as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as troops loyal to Moscow fired warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. Cossacks were originally a 14th century military force predominantly living in Ukraine and southern Russia. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

  • FILE - In a Sunday, June 24, 2012 file photo, Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh waves the Palestinian and Egyptian flags during celebrations of the victory of Mohammed Morsi in the Egyptian presidential elections, in Gaza City. An Egyptian court ruled on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 to ban activities of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Egypt in a move likely to fuel tension between Cairo's military-backed government and the Islamic group that rules the neighboring Gaza Strip. Egypt's interim leaders maintain that Hamas is playing a key role in the insurgency by militants in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

    FILE - In a Sunday, June 24, 2012 file photo, Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh waves the Palestinian and Egyptian flags during celebrations of the victory of Mohammed Morsi in the Egyptian presidential elections, in Gaza City. An Egyptian court ruled on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 to ban activities of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Egypt in a move likely to fuel tension between Cairo's military-backed government and the Islamic group that rules the neighboring Gaza Strip. Egypt's interim leaders maintain that Hamas is playing a key role in the insurgency by militants in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

  • A gas mask lies among other debris at a barricade where Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev, Ukraine. The Shrine of the Fallen, located on Institutska Street, honors the fallen Heroes of the "Heavenly Sotnya" (Hundred). Over the course of the EuroMaidan protests, almost 100 protesters were killed by police. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

    A gas mask lies among other debris at a barricade where Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev, Ukraine. The Shrine of the Fallen, located on Institutska Street, honors the fallen Heroes of the "Heavenly Sotnya" (Hundred). Over the course of the EuroMaidan protests, almost 100 protesters were killed by police. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

  • Ukrainian soldiers, left watch as a Russian soldier guards the gate of an infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    Ukrainian soldiers, left watch as a Russian soldier guards the gate of an infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

  • Robert Fried

    Robert Fried

  • Ukrainian Maria, 23, right, and Vanui, 22, hold posters against Russia's military intervention in Crimea, in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Russia's parliament approved a motion to use the country's military in Ukraine after a request from President Vladimir Putin as protests in Russian-speaking cities turned violent Saturday, sparking fears of a wide-scale invasion. The poster in the right side reads in Ukrainian: "I am from Russia, please protect me and remove the weapons and soldiers from Ukraine." (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • A woman passes by a barricade in a street heading to Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Relieved investors sent stocks sharply higher Tuesday after Russia pulled troops back from the border of Ukraine. The rally erased steep losses from Monday caused by fears an escalating conflict. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • Pro Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.  Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
  • A Ukrainian man wearing camouflage uniform yawns as he asks for donations to support the Ukrainian military with the slogan on box reading "collecting money for Cossacks' needs", at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.  Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's border to return to their bases as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as troops loyal to Moscow fired warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. Cossacks were originally a 14th century military force predominantly living in Ukraine and southern Russia. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • FILE - In a Sunday, June 24, 2012 file photo, Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh waves the Palestinian and Egyptian flags during celebrations of the victory of Mohammed Morsi in the Egyptian presidential elections, in Gaza City. An Egyptian court ruled on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 to ban activities of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Egypt in a move likely to fuel tension between Cairo's military-backed government and the Islamic group that rules the neighboring Gaza Strip. Egypt's interim leaders maintain that Hamas is playing a key role in the insurgency by militants in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)
  • A gas mask lies among other debris at a barricade where Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev, Ukraine. The Shrine of the Fallen, located on Institutska Street, honors the fallen Heroes of the "Heavenly Sotnya" (Hundred). Over the course of the EuroMaidan protests, almost 100 protesters were killed by police. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
  • Ukrainian soldiers, left watch as a Russian soldier guards the gate of an infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
  • Robert Fried

It has happened over and over again since the end of the Cold War. Nascent movements for democracy have arisen all over the world in response to people bravely rebelling against autocratic regimes and striving for freedom, only to have their dreams crushed by the quick return of demagogues, the over-reaching of fragile electoral majorities, the resurgence of tribalism, the corruption of markets by oligarchs, leading to the return to power of autocratic regimes, whether by elections or by coups. It has happened in post-Soviet Eastern Europe – look at the Ukraine – in Iraq, Egypt and Libya, in a number of African countries and perhaps most fatefully in Russia itself.

Populations turn to strongmen when these young democracies fail to guarantee a level of good government, including a measure of order and stability, that their revolutions have promised. Voters find that elections are easily subverted by naive and power-hungry leaders. Power vacuums lead to power grabs by precisely those kinds of leaders that those hopeful, color-coded “revolutions” had sought to depose.

As Steven Erlanger of the New York Times put it, in a recent article on the fragility of the new Ukrainian government, “Whether Egypt or Libya, post-Soviet Georgia or Ukraine itself a decade ago, recent history is littered with failed or broken dreams of new democratic beginnings. The forces of the old order retreat, regroup and capitalize on the instability or inefficiency of the new.”

History tells us that people will cede their freedoms to those who offer security, as in Egypt, and will refrain from more than symbolic protest when even blatantly manipulative and corrupt autocrats offer them some level of economic stability, as in Russia.

Much, if not all, of this might have been prevented. What has been tragically lacking is a highly regarded international body, something like an “Emerging Democracies Foundation” – equivalent to the International Monetary Fund but focused on good government and supported in similar fashion to the IMF by established democracies. This foundation would provide highly skilled cadres of technical and political experts to help guide new democracies to a firmer footing.

Imagine what might have happened in the Ukraine, after the earlier “Orange Revolution,” if such a team of experts had guided Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to avoid making the kinds of preventable political mistakes that lost them popular support within a few years and led to the return of the very Viktor Yanukovych whom the protesters of Kiev have had to throw out once again.

Imagine a different fate for Mohammed Morsi’s democratically elected government in Egypt, if a similar high-profile team of experts had helped offset the pressure from the Muslim Brotherhood to turn a slim electoral majority into a religiously driven takeover. Imagine where Libya might be today if such a team had been invited in to assist that country after the overthrow of Ghaddafi.

Imagine if such a cadre had intervened at the time of the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, to help prevent the misguided Shia-biased policies that have led to a revival of militant Sunni insurgents. Imagine if such a well-regarded foundation stood ready to assist in Syria’s transition, to blunt fears that only extremists will run the show.

Under the nominal leadership of someone of great stature – such as the late Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi –an Emerging Democracies Foundation cadre of experts would have maximum impact at the very beginning of the post-revolutionary period, before the euphoria of liberation had worn off and factionalist, robber baron or tribalist influences were allowed to fill the political void. By funneling financial aid through such a foundation, even greater international pressure could be brought to bear without raising the same nationalist backlash against individual Western governments. By threatening to withdraw both technical and financial assistance if their advice were brusquely ignored, these cadres would at very least signal to the world that a new democracy was in crisis and could generate vital cautionary influences, both within the country and internationally.

Of course, there is no guarantee that headstrong new “democratic” leaders would heed the advice of an Emerging Democracies Foundation team. But look at the affect that the IMF has had all over the world, where governments feel compelled to follow what may be locally unpalatable economic advice.

Absent a high-profile, well-funded and politically unaligned group of advisers, new democracies have been left to sink or swim in the turbid waters of tribal, ethnic or regional passions.

Those of us who advocate for the spread of democratic government all over the world are left to shake our heads at the loss of opportunity. Those of us who wish to see America turn away from fighting wars in tribal regions and reassert a role as champions of liberty are dismayed at our inability to invest a fraction of our war budgets to support fragile democratic movements.

(Robert L. Fried of Concord recently retired as director of the Upper Valley Educators Institute in Lebanon. He is the author of “The Passionate Teacher” and “The Game of School.”)

It's a sad state of affairs when 90% of the comments on an article have nothing to do with the subject of the article itself but are merly rants against current political leaders. Did anyone even read the article above ?

The folks on here use the word "FACTS" like a sword. Saying something is a fact does not make it so. The number one name caller is Sail or whatever he calls himself now, the rest of you are not far behind him. I looked up Lois Lerner and all the headlines from Blaze, Washington Times, etc all the usual right wing outlets and she is reviled and accused of everything without ever being charged. No wonder she takes the 5th. She knows she will not get a fair deal from Issa, She is guilty before she speaks. Rabbit "guesses" she must have something to hide. Why don't you all just bring back tar and feathers?

Are you aware Tillie that the Committee that is investigating the IRS voted on if Lerner waived her 5th by giving a speech of her innocence before she took the 5th? They voted that she had. Funny thing about the 5th is that your not suppose to say anything, let alone give a speech. As far as her getting a fair deal, the Committee is comprised of both Dems & Reps. Anybody who takes the 5th does have something to hide. No other reason for taking it except to get a deal. She wanted immunity, they refused, so now she in contempt. Quite a bit to go through if your innocent I would say. But then again, why let those little details be discussed. Especially if they prove you wrong. Nothing new here, cover up everything, because this administration has been caught yet again. The question is will Lerner take the fall to cover up for who issued the order to her to go after conservatives. Next time the IRS audits you, tell them you are a Liberal and they will give you a pass on the audit.

Are you aware, Rabbit, that not everybody who takes the 5th has something to hide. It is in the Constitution, maybe not as high as your favorite, the 2nd, but in the top ten. The committee investigating her can not decide to take away her rights that is bull. Watergate was bipartisan, this is a sham.

"Watergate was bipartisan" is the laugh of the day - super partisan Hillary Clinton was fired from staff as she was a ballistic hyper partisan - talk about throwing around Facts - pot calling the kettle black

Issa has already spent 14 million dollars and countless hours on the IRS, Fox generated scandal and has nothing to show for it. For people who scream it's in the Constitution constantly you might appreciate that Lerner is standing on her Constitutional Rights. She claimed the 5th last year and Issa recalled her which was illegal because he knew she was going to do it again. He did it for show for his crazy base, some of whom post on here. Lots of Christie cohorts are also claiming the 5th. Learner has said this is a witchhunt looking for a witch and not a true investigation. Rabbit "guesses" that documents are being withheld because they are pretty bad. This is pure McCarthyism. Damming by innuendo.

"She claimed the 5th last year and Issa recalled her which was illegal because he knew she was going to do it again." What absolute twaddle! Where on God's earth do you come up with this nincompoopery???

For him to call her again was pure harassment which is illegal. When a witness claims her Constitutional rights she can not be harassed and forced to answer questions.

A new poll shows Americans believe the IRS scandal is the most important issue (CBS)... Obama administration ‘will hold up every firewall they can’ to block IRS investigation. ... She wants immunity... NOT A SMIDGEON OF CORRUPTION will be the lie of the year for 2014. It is truly sad when the democrat president of the US receives that dubious honor

Saint Cummings. Promised the Terry Family he would seek justice for the death of their son. He did that by praising Holder for turning over 7,000 of the 70,000 documents requested by the hearing committee on Fast & Furious. Never asked one question about Benghazi, spent his time attacking the Reps and saying it was another witch hunt. He was outed by the Founder of True The Vote when she testified at the IRS hearings, he sent her 3 harassing letters. After she outed him, he want on National TV and called her a racist. Yeah this is a saint who seeks the truth.

Lets take a look at Saint Lois. As Head of the FEC Enforcement Office she went after the Christian Coalition Went after Durbins opponent in the race is Illinois. Said do not run and we will drop the case. Ignored a fundraiser for Al Gore who was accused of illegal fundraising. Then moved on to the IRS and did her magic. Is it any wonder she does not want to testify?

Can anyone name any foreign policy successes since the winning of WW 11?

HW Bush and Germany come to mind...

That's funny. And I thought you guys had no sense of humor.

Reagan won the COLD WAR - duh !

Sure he did, he won WW11 too,, I saw all his movies.

Sail (bestpresraygun is to much to type) you left out a few things. The Fred Fuller Oil problem, sub zero weather and the ice storm in Atlanta, as they are as much Obama's fault as everything you listed. North Korea, give me a break. They have been a loose cannon since day one. Exactly what is Obama's fault there. You really should research what you attribute as failures. Benghazi, that's getting old. We Americans can't see past our own view of how the world should work. Our form of government will not work everywhere, namely the middle east, Balkan region or most of all Afghanistan.Or for that matter, anywhere there is not an educated middle class.

"Poll: 69 percent think Benghazi needs to be investigated" .... Only Obamanistas are still diseased with "Obama Worship Syndrome." Primarily affecting low-information voters and members of the mainstream media, Obama Worship Syndrome victims finds excuses for every Obama failure in everyone around him and praises the president as the finest politician — nay, human being — of our time.”

Yesterday, Lois Lerner once again took the fifth and did not answer one single question. Of course progressives would have had a cow if anyone in the Bush Administration did the same thing. Unfortunately, if the IRS did not gleefully breaking the law, she would not have taken the fifth. But Democrats are calling it a "witch hunt". In fact several Senators pushed the IRS to target conservative groups, including Jeanne Shaheen.

Yep and Cummings acted like an idiot. Said he had a question after the hearing was dismissed and then went on ranting and raving about how this hearing was one sided. yeah it actually is. The Dems refuse to submit the evidence to make sure the hearings are not going anywhere. Lerner actually requested immunity in order to testify. Which begs the question, If there is nothing to hide, then why are they hiding the documents? If everything is clean and on the up and up, the documents would clear them. So my guess is the documents are being withheld because they are pretty bad.

Issa isn't fit to wipe the shoes of Rep. Cummings, he is a true American Patriot.

If ....as NObama declared...."there isn’t “a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS..... then why take the fifth? HEADLINE: "Obama charged with blocking IRS probe, breaking promises to help" A House chairman probing the IRS scandal on Wednesday said that President Obama has reneged on a promise to have his aides cooperate with the investigation, forcing the Ways and Means Committee to conduct a dragnet for emails and documents needed to smoke out the truth.....

I don't think you could ever find anywhere that I even acknowledged Obama was qualified for the job. So by even insinuating that I am a worshiper only shows how clueless you really are. As for Obama and Benghazi, all I can do is offer this; "It was the largest one-day death toll for Marines since the Battle for Iwo Jima in 1945. Those Marines had been ordered into Lebanon by President Ronald Reagan as a part of an international peacekeeping force following the June 1982 Israeli invasion of that country and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s withdrawal.Making an already-dangerous situation even more hazardous, the Marines were under strict presidential orders not to load their weapons — " Of course I am talking about the Beirut. Marine barracks bombing, 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three American civilians were killed and another 60 were injured. Here's one of to many to count links; http://www.phillyburbs.com/entertainment/in-debacle-reagan-escaped-the-blame-game/article_0174fce9-b60c-5b6b-8934-915bd3c2bcf7.html. Best President ever - not hardly.

A dozen paragraphs about our current foreign policy woes without a single mention of "President Obama", "Hillary Clinton", "John Kerry" or "Chuck Hagel" . . . the mind boggles.

Boggles the mind, why? We have never been great when it came to foreign policy, certainly not limited to our present one. The 20th century was rife with foreign policy failures. The Bay of Pigs, let's see Noriega in Panama - arming the Afghan rebels to fight the Soviets, the very ones we are now fighting. Training and helping put Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq to counter the Iranians. The list goes on and on as the politicians keep changing. The only thing that doesn't seem to change is our convenient memories. Time to do your homework on Hillary, besides Benghazi, what are her shortcomings?

I'll do you one better..what were her accomplishments?

HEADLINE: DNC Attendees Can't Name a Single Hillary Accomplishment - See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/matt-vespa/dnc-attendees-cant-name-single-hillary-accomplishment#sthash.Ak8dqyDt.vtAPoPEn.dpuf

Matt Vespa, that's your source??? Why not just stick with making things up, would be the same.

straight from the democrats playbook: when you cant counter the FACTS as presented in a video: smear, demonize & destroy the message and messenger - a truly sad way for democrats to behave

Love Jon Stewart's line, Fox takes grandma's inbox and says it out loud as news. The folks on here recite obscure items on here as fact, and it is not easy to know where they get them.

The folks on here do not dispute what is said by the opposing party. They ignore every statement posted. Not all, but most. It is a lot easier to name call than to actually address the issues. I still have not figure out if folks are uninformed or they do not want to deal with the facts.

you would not know the truth if it was stuck to your nose

True to form. Answer a question with another question.

Seriously, this is the best you got? “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Hillary & Obama's dismal record...... Egypt, Libya, IRAN, Arab Spring, Syria, North Korea, Ukraine, Benghazi, Yemen and the list goes on... how has that worked out for ya? Hillary is the most celebrated unaccomplished carnival huckster since ....... NObama

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