Speaking to the British Parliament in 1982, President Ronald Reagan called on the United States “to foster the infrastructure of democracy” to help ensure that people around the world were empowered to determine their own fates. Now, at this increasingly fraught moment for freedom around the world, the Trump administration wants to dismantle that infrastructure.
Buried in the State Department’s fiscal 2019 budget request is a proposal not only to slash the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy but also to disassemble its relationships with its core institutes, including the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. For the NED and those institutes, the proposal is an assault not only on their organizations but also on the pro-democracy mission they are dedicated to.
“If implemented, the proposal would gut the program, force crippling layoffs and the symbolic meaning would also be shattering, sending a signal far and wide that the United States is turning its back on supporting brave people who share our values,” said NED President Carl Gershman.
The Trump administration proposal would allow the NED to continue issuing small grants but move funding of its core institutes to the State Department, where the IRI and NDI would have to compete with private contractors. The organizations involved argue that keeping funding decisions at arm’s length from the State Department allows the NED network to do things on the edges of the pro-democracy movement that the U.S. government can’t or won’t, such as supporting Chinese dissidents in ways that upset Beijing.
The NED has been little more than a a front for regime change efforts for our state security apparatus since its founding.
It is a cover for, “A boot stamping on a human face – forever,” fomenting civil wars and civil unrest against regimes deemed insufficiently pliant.
This is why, for example, the NED has been largely silent regarding the excesses of the House of Saud.
Good riddance, even if its demise is for the wrong reason. (We know that it’s the wrong reason because it’s Trump and his Evil Minions™ doing this.)