Thursday, December 22, 2005

# Posted 12:56 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

AN ARTICLE IN THE WORKS: I would tell you where it's going to be published, but I don't want to jinx it, since the manuscript hasn't been finalized yet. The topic, however, is one of thorniest issues facing America today: how to deal with friendly dictators, who we are afraid might be replaced by a radical, anti-American opposition.

Don't expect a decisive answer to this question. Rather, what I try to do, along with my co-author, is demonstrate how the United States faced the exact same dilemma during the final decade of the Cold War, when presidents hesitated to push authoritarian allies to reform, lest they be replaced by those such as the Sandinistas in Managua and the Khomeini regime in Teheran.

Although hesitant at first to confront the dictatorships in places such as the Philippines, South Korea and Chile, Reagan ultimately came around to the recognition that deft diplomacy could hasten reform without antagonizing the current regime or bringing to power a radical opposition.

What our article doesn't provide is a detailed assessment of the prospects for democratization in the friendly dictatorships of today, such as Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Rather, our purpose is to provide a conceptual framework for the discussion that shows how American can achieve what pessimists then and now (who often describe themselves as realists) consider to be simply impossible.

Anyhow, I haven't been blogging much since I've had to focus on the article the past couple of days. Thanks for your patience.
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

There was a time when no government much cared how another state treated its people. So, historically, when did the issue of "friendly dictators" begin to be seen as a problem, rather than just the natural state of the world? Put another way, when did western democracies begin to see it as a moral obligation to try to effect change in friendly dictatorships?

Woodrow Wilson made national self-determination a cause, but that always struck me as more of a matter of promoting nationalism rather than pluralist democracy. After all, World War I was essentially started because the Western powers felt obliged to fight on behalf of their friendly dictators when they were threatened by unfriendly dictators.

Is the end of colonialism the turning point? Or is it more specifically Vietnam that changed the equation?
While I'm at a loss to have any understanding of the previous comment, I'm awaiting your article/essay or whatever with impatience.
Agree or disagree, I always enjoy and am challenged by your thinking.
Jimmy Carter objected to the cellars of SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, who abused the human rights of perhaps 300 Iranians. So he pulled the rug from under the Shah, which led directly to the carnage of the Iran-Iraq war--where millions died--and the present mess in Iran.
Don't forget to take western music with you.

We must never forget that international law and the UN will save us from the likes of Iran. Providing of course trade doesn't get in the way.
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