Germany Rethinks Exporting Democracy

New draft guidelines drawn up by the German government say that future military missions should not be focused on spreading Western conceptions of democracy

What's the Latest Development?

New draft guidelines developed by the German foreign, defense and development ministries indicate that missions undertaken by its national military are no longer to be focused on exporting Western conceptions of democracy. "The paper indicates that intervention strategy must take into account local traditions and institutions, even if they don't correspond to concepts of liberal democracy." While the new plan is likely meant to keep Germany out of long-term conflicts like Afghanistan, the concept could be understood as requiring cooperation with corrupt or violent elites.

What's the Big Idea?

Seven years ago George Bush II established a new imperative to spread democracy by declaring, "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goals of ending tyranny in our world." Today, after non-Western democratic uprisings and long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO countries are perhaps less comfortable than ever with spreading their concept of a just government. "Currently, the Western allies are deadlocked in the search for sufficient post-withdrawal funding for Afghanistan."

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