BOOK NOTES: Larry Diamond’s THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY
Noted by Thomas Riggins
This new work by one of the directors of the NED [National Endowment for Democracy] has the subtitle “The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World.” A better subtitle would have been “The Struggle to Help the CIA Overthrow Governments Adverse to American Domination.”
Here is Diamond’s take on “Venezuela’s Pseudodemocracy.” Even though Hugo Chavez has been elected by, and his policies supported by, free elections by the people (and his big recent defeat in a referendum was accepted as a rejection of proposed policy changes by his government), Venezuela is called a “pseudodemocracy”. Diamond prefers his own NED supported “scholars” and their reports in his house organ, “The Journal of Democracy” and allied views (including spokespeople for the opposition) to the judgments of the Carter Center and the Organization of American States on the fairness of elections.
This book appears to be nothing but 448 pages of imperialist propaganda by Diamond (a fellow of the Hoover Institute at Stanford and advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad—democracy through the barrel of a gun). This book follows the NED line. What is the NED? It is a CIA front organization funded by the US government. One of its founders, Allen Weinstein said of it: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA” (Wikipedia).
The “democrats” overseas that the NED supports have one thing in common: they support US corporations and their investments in their countries. NED has not supported any groups or individuals who are opposed to US corporations unrestricted investment rights. NED gives grants and other financial support (mostly US government money) to those struggling to build “free” societies. A prime example is the $250,000 they gave to CANF [Cuban American National Foundation] an anti-Castro terrorist group funded by the US government and allied with the Republican Party.
What is really galling is the page of Gandhi quotes that appears before the table of contents, one of which reads, “The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within.” This quote is offered up from someone who worked in Iraq for the Bush regime. Give yourself a break don’t buy this book!
Larry Diamond, "The Spirit of Democracy",New York, Times Books: Henry Holt and Company, 2008, pp. 448, index, $28.00, ISBN 13:976-0-8050-7869-5