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This means that direct funding for democracy assistance by the United States constitutes less than 10 percent of U.S. spending on foreign assistance (most of which is for economic and humanitarian aid), about 4 percent of total nonmilitary spending on foreign affairs, and less than one-quarter of 1 percent of what is spent by the U.S. military. Put another way, the entire U.S. DG budget request for $1.45 billion for FY2008 for worldwide efforts to transform countries into stable democracies is about one-tenth the annual budget request of the State of California’s DepartOne result of the consolidated budgeting process instituted as part of the foreign assistance reforms described in the next chapter is that, at least for the FY2008 request, it is not possible to break USAID out from the combined State-USAID request (interview with USAID staff, September 10, 2007). There are additional funds in the supplemental requests for Iraq and Afghanistan that might be considered DG programming, but the committee was not able to obtain an estimate for those expenditures.
2 For example, in Uganda the work on peace building and reconciliation in Northern
ment of Transportation for $12.8 billion simply for highway maintenance and construction (State of California 2007).
The committee stresses at the outset the imbalance between what USAID’s missions are asked to do in democracy and governance—to help countries steer their entire participation and governance system in the direction of greater or more stable democracy—and the constrained financial resources they have at their disposal for this task. The committee believes this imbalance is central to any assessment of whether USAID DG projects are actually raising the level of democracy worldwide and also to the way in which the projects are examined to evaluate their impact.
USAID’s DG efforts include programs in countries undertaking democratic reforms and countries that are not yet seeking such reforms.
Most of the projects are not carried out by USAID personnel but through contracts and grants with private firms and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). USAID’s main role in democracy promotion is thus to plan projects and then select contractors to implement them, or choose local or international NGOs to receive grant support for their activities.
USAID is the single largest provider of funding for democracy assistance. However, in many countries USAID is just one agency among many others providing democracy assistance.3 Although each donor agency plans and carries out its own programs, coordination with other donors occurs on several levels: within countries among donors, through bilateral channels, and through such multilateral venues as the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
3 Some of the other major organizations providing democracy assistance include the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), Germany’s Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (SIDA), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Many nongovernmental or quasi-governmental organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Foundation for Election Systems, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute are also active in international programs of democracy assistance. The Organization for American States is actively promoting democracy in the Americas. Multilateral donor agencies, such as the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the OECD Development Assistance Committee, have also made promotion of good governance (a vague concept but one that overlaps with many elements of democracy, including transparency and accountability of government and impartial rule of law) a priority in their work.
IMPROVING DEMOCRACY ASSISTANCE cratically,” under the reforms of foreign assistance undertaken by the
Bush administration. As shown on the USAID Web site (2007), these are:
• Strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights The term ‘rule of law’ embodies the basic principles of equal treatment of all people before the law, fairness, and both constitutional and actual guarantees of basic human rights. A predictable legal system with fair, transparent, and effective judicial institutions is essential to the protection of citizens against the arbitrary use of state authority and lawless acts of both organizations and individuals.... Without the rule of law, the executive and legislative branches of government operate without checks and balances, free and fair elections are not possible, and civil society cannot flourish. Beyond the democracy and governance sector, the accomplishment of other USAID goals also relies on effective rule of law.
• Promoting more genuine and competitie elections and political processes Free and fair elections are vital to a functioning democracy. When a country is emerging out of a protracted civil war, or in cases where a country’s government has lost the confidence of its citizens, it is often necessary to hold elections very quickly.... Competitive political parties are central to any democracy. They perform a number of functions that, in combination, distinguish them from any other civic or social organization.
• Increased deelopment of a politically actie ciil society The hallmark of a free society is the ability of individuals to associate with like-minded individuals, express their views publicly, openly debate public policy, and petition their government. ‘Civil society’ is an increasingly accepted term which best describes the nongovernmental, not-for-profit, independent nature of this segment of society.
• More transparent and accountable goernance A key determinant for successful democratic consolidation is the ability of democratically-elected governments to provide ‘good governance.’... ’Good governance’ assumes a government’s ability to maintain social peace, guarantee law and order, promote or create conditions necessary for economic growth, and ensure a minimum level of social security. Yet many new governments fail to realize the long-term benefits of adopting effective governance policies.
These four goals have remained remarkably constant since the first democracy assistance strategy was adopted in the early 1990s and then enshrined in USAID practice at the outset of the Clinton administration.
USAID has thus continued to rely on a consistent framework of challenges and programs to meet them for more than 15 years.
The four broad goals are supported by program components such as Promote Media Freedom, Support Credible Elections, Strengthen PolitiDEMOCRACY ASSISTANCE AND USAID cal Parties, Strengthen Justice Sector, and Reduce Corruption. In the field these program components are translated into projects, each of which may include many separate activities.4 For example, a large stock of projects has been developed to train political parties to compete, to increase civic participation, and to encourage judicial or legislative competence and autonomy. Many DG missions are supporting activities to improve democratic practices within political parties, heighten women’s participation in politics, provide technical support to judges or legislators, increase the number of active NGOs, and promote decentralization of government services. As discussed further in the next section, the design and implementation of all of these efforts depend on knowledge and assumptions about what causes, sustains, or hinders the process of democratization.
DEMOCRATIC DEvELOPMENT AND DEMOCRACy
ASSISTANCE: WHAT DO WE kNOW?Ideally, USAID and other providers of DG assistance would be guided in achieving their goals by a well-defined theory of democratic development that could identify where a recipient country stood on feasible trajectories toward stable democracy and which elements or driving factors needed to be supplied or strengthened in order to overcome obstacles and move forward on such a trajectory. It would then select among programs known to provide or strengthen those specific elements and tailor their implementation to that country’s specific needs.
Unfortunately, the growth of widely accepted findings regarding the causes and consequences of democratization has lagged behind the growth of democracy assistance activities. Scholars continue to debate exactly how to define democracy, what pathways lead most reliably to full liberal democracy, what the necessary conditions are to achieve and stabilize democracies, and what the consequences are of transitions to democracy for various sets of institutions and geohistorical contexts (Lowenthal 1991, Lijphart 1999, Cox et al 2000, Przeworski et al 2000, Diamond and Plattner 2001, Mansfield and Snyder 2002, Bunce 2003, Chua 2003, Junne and Cross 2003, Acemoglu and Robinson 2005, Pevehouse 2005, Shapiro 2005, Bunce and Wolchik 2006, Tilly 2007). In policy terms this means that scholars can provide only qualified advice on how to move countries 4 USAID has no standard terms for the various levels of its work. In this report “programs” is used to capture higher levels such as DG, which undertake various “projects” in countries, and these projects in turn may involve multiple “activities.” When speaking of evaluating “programs” or “projects” in this report, the committee refers to the evaluation of specific activities to determine whether they are having their desired impact. It is recognized that clusters of such activities may need to be evaluated to assess the overall impact of a large project or, even more broadly, of program activity in a given country or countries.
IMPROVING DEMOCRACY ASSISTANCE from dictatorship to stable and full liberal democracy; on how to shore up recently emerged or fragile democracies; or on precisely how to use democratization to address problems of terrorism, domestic or international conflict, or economic decay. It is probably fair to say that scholars know far more about what fully democratic countries look like and how they function than about how nondemocratic or partially democratic countries make the transition to stable full democracies.
These limitations notwithstanding, the field of democracy studies has expanded enormously in the past few decades. In the years immediately following World War II, the main obstacle to the spread of democracy was considered to be communism. Modernization theory argued that if societies could just be kept on a path toward capitalism and free markets, political freedom and democracy would eventually follow.5 Yet modernization theory was swept aside in the 1970s and 1980s in a wave of detailed scholarship on the highly varied trajectories of developing, postcolonial, and capitalist and socialist societies. The emergence throughout the developing world in the 1960s and 1970s of a variety of military dictatorships, postcolonial dictatorships, capitalist one-party states, and frequent reversions or collapses of new democratic regimes provoked scholars to reexamine their assumptions. Rather than a nearly inevitable tendency driven by modernization, progress toward democracy came to be seen as a highly problematic process, fragile and prone to reversal.
Building on a few seminal works, from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America to Seymour Martin Lipset’s Political Man and Robert Dahl’s Polyarchy, scholars have developed a host of new data and theories regarding democracy. There are at least two journals entirely devoted to democracy studies (The Journal of Democracy and Democratization), and a multivolume Encyclopedia of Democracy (Lipset 1995). The Web site supplement to this report contains a partial bibliography of recent scholarship on democracy and democratization that runs to nearly 20 pages. 6 This literature falls into three broad groupings. Cross-national quantitatie analyses seek to identify the average impact of various factors— income, education, culture, religion, or institutional background, for example—on the frequency with which countries undergo democratic transitions or reversions or on the level of democracy as measured by widely used indicators such as the one developed by Freedom House (e.g., Bollen and Jackman 1985, Lewis-Beck and Burhart 1994, Muller and