DECLINE OF FREEDOM CONTINUED 2009
The world is in a 'freedom recession' and American policies are not helping:
The recent reversals coincide, however, with America's own waning interest in democracy promotion. This didn't start with the Obama ascendancy. Chastened by the 2006 midterm election debacle and sinking public support for his Mideast policies, President Bush took rhetorical and practical emphasis off his own flagship foreign-policy agenda.
The current Administration has changed the focus entirely. In its dealings with Russia and China, strategic issues trump any talk of democracy or human rights, which earlier this year in Beijing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notably called a distraction to bilateral relations. Ditto in Iran.
If in the days of Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan, we worked to fashion the world into a better place guided by the belief that the urge to live in freedom is universal, today we act as if we are resigned to taking the world as it is. We used to nudge countries toward liberal democracy. Now we assume the price of nudging is too high.
Meanwhile, the enemies of democracy have set out to undo the gains of the post-Berlin Wall era, and many are succeeding.
Read the 2010 Overview Essay and sigh.
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