Promotion of democracy and human rights is a part of the foreign policy adopted by the U.S. federal government and different international organizations. Those international policies help the government spread values of democracy and human rights around the world. The United States promotes democracy and human rights to other countries by following different policies. Those policies protect American and other citizens in different parts of the world. In addition, it encourages other countries to live a more peaceful life. The U.S. sees the main reason for supporting democracy in building more harmonious and economically well-established societies around the globe (U.S. Department of State 2010)
Key Factors of Human Rights and Democracy Promotion
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the first major bilateral international donor that works in the field of international development. Human rights and democracy promotion programs have supported disaster relief for many years by helping people and countries that face natural or political cataclysms. USAID has adopted development and democracy relationship into one of the major sectors of their service.
The experts from Overseas Development Institute have identified five main areas of democracy promotion: elections and electoral process, judicial reforms, political parties, civil society, and the media. The democracy and human rights promotion policies of the United States encourage economic prosperity and global political stability. In addition, they help reduce terrorism. In 2006, the Bush administration introduced the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, which promoted democracy as a long-term solution to winning the wars on terror.
Benefits of Democracy and Human Rights Promotion
Democracy and human rights promotion helps different countries improve their lives and economic status. Democracy promotes economic prosperity and helps sustain a stable society with equal economic opportunities. As a result, different countries can attain good economic growth. According to the current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, democracy promotion helps create international free markets and economic opportunities. Democratic peace theory, stipulating that democracies are unlikely to go to war with other democracies, also fits here. Experts point that the United States, European countries, Mexico, and Canada as present examples of democratic peace theory. Former U.S. President Clinton believes that human rights and democracy promotion can build trust between trading partners and decrease the chance of war. Moreover, President Bush took democracy promotion to a new level by providing long-term antidote to terrorism. Moreover, Bush administration fought for the freedom of speech, improved education systems of developing countries, and sought to reduce inequality in political participation. According to Bush, effective democracy can defeat terrorism and it is only possible by promoting human rights all over the world.He has given special attention to independent justice systems and the freedoms of speech, religion, association, and press all over the world
The U.S. Human Rights Policies
The United States has long been committed to improving human rights record around the world. The country condemns undemocratic activities and defends justice and liberty in the world. The human rights principles are true for all people and give equal opportunities to everyone. The rights may include freedom of worship, respect for women, free speech, equal justice, respect for private property, and religious and ethnic tolerance. The U.S. government takes steps to sustain peace whenever it encounters evidence of serious human rights violations in different parts of the world. For example, recently, American President Barack Obama has taken special steps to sustain peace in Iran and Ukraine. American Federal Government manifests its concerns through a variety of channels, which facilitate diplomatic dialogue around religious freedom protection or human trafficking control around the world. The U.S. government has pursued multilateral diplomacy by working simultaneously with the UN and other organizations. Those organizations take important steps to control the observance of international laws. The democracy promotion by the U.S. government is not only a venture but also a goal shared with other countries. In addition, democracy promotion broadens the partnership with local and international organizations. Such partnerships help in the advancement of humanitarian relief and human rights. Some of the global organizations, including Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy, play a pivotal role in developing a democratic culture and strengthening civil societies.
Terrorist Activities Control
The United States uses both soft and hard power to promote democracy. The Federal Government uses different methods in different circumstances with similar modalities. For example, in recent time, the American government has taken strict actions against the human rights violators in Iraq, Iran, and Libya. Most of these actions have ensued due to the variety of considerations, including economic issues, security concerns, and human rights violations. The United States government thus takes a balanced approach against by promoting democracy in different countries.For example, the United States is working with a number of Central Asian countries to control the terrorist activities of Taliban and al Qaeda. The United States government has various priorities for promoting democracy abroad, e.g., to win the war on terrorism. Pan-national terrorist organizations pose critical threats to the democratic systems of different countries and their citizens. Therefore, democracy promotion helps those countries unite against terrorism.
Women Development Policies
In 2002, the Bush administration launched a high-level initiative to improve economic, cultural, and political participation of women. For example, Bush took actions against women discrimination in Afghanistan by opposing the Taliban regime of gender discrimination and helping women gain more political and economic opportunities. American government has created the Office of International Women’s Issues, which helps women understand their rights and role in the society. Such state organizations improve women education, health, and security. They oppose inequalities between men and women and argue that women should not be treated as second-class citizens in any part of the world. Women should have the rights to study at universities, work, vote, and pursue their dreams. In addition, human rights promotion involves initiatives to support economic, political, and educational reform in Middle Eastern countries.
Potential Downsides of Democracy and Human Rights Promotion
Although the promotion of democracy and human rights supports different countries in developing their lifestyles and economy, it still has some downsides. Some critics believe that the U.S. democracy promotion has reduced the support of other countries and generated skepticism all over the world. According to a study, the war in Iraq has muddied the meaning of international democracy projects. Many critics believe that the Iraq war was the result of a misuse of power by the Bush administration and its allies. Moreover, some experts argue that democracy promotion has increased military costs by diverting away from domestic expenditure priorities.Critics have noticed that democracy promotion tools may cost great amounts of money. For example, foreign aid, diplomacy, military intervention, and public diplomacy can be very expensive and cause huge losses to the American financial system. Critics have objected that some of the democracy promotion projects contain long-term nation-building programs. For example, America’s democracy promotion in Iraq costs American economy about $10 billion per month. As a result of such huge expenditures, the Federal Government has had difficulties allocating money for national programs. Many Americans believe that the country has different national issues, including extreme poverty and infectious diseases. Therefore, many believe the government should first solve national issues instead of attending to international problems, like democracy promotion.
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The above analysis leads to the conclusion that the U.S. spreads its political values to other countries. The U.S. government uses different international policies to promote democracy and human rights, which help different countries to live a more harmonious life. In addition, they help a country become economically strong and independent. Some of the key factors of democracy promotion are judicial reform, civil rights, and elections and electoral process. Moreover, democracy and human rights promotion helps control international terrorism. It also provides equal economic and social opportunities for women all over the world. However, democracy and human rights promotion policies have some downsides as well. Some critics believe that democracy promotion programs have increased the U.S. external expenditures that would have been gone to address many domestic issues. As a result, U.S. taxpayers are not getting enough opportunities in the country. In addition, it creates financial complications with other national issues, including poverty and infectious diseases. Nevertheless, it is possible to sustain the expenditures for external and internal priorities of the U.S. by doing thorough analysis.
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