Diplomacy or Dollar Dissidents


Daniel, your assertion that all desirable regime change in our time has come mainly from below begs multiple questions.  First, I assume when you say “in our time” that you mean in the audiences lifetime, or the current adult generation.  That would, of course, include the dollar dissidents which we funded in Venezuela against Chavez.  It would also include the dollar dissidents funded in Iran as well as the multiple ‘stans.’  The list is almost endless.  Although some of these have resulted in regime changes which brought in pro Western political leadership, many have not and have, contrarily, brought in more authoritarian regimes as well as a resurgence in old antagonisms.  Second, if this is the continuing prevailing wisdom, how much are we spending to promote ‘civil society’ in China?  I believe the answer is very little.  For a variety of complicated reasons, we are relying on the theory of functionalism to alter China from an autocratic, communistic government to one which more resembles prevailing norms of civil society.  To put it more plainly, we are, and have been for some time, relying on engagement and diplomacy with China.  If its good for China, why not Cuba or Venezuela?


Response to: “Obama Among the Dictators”, Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2009, by Daniel Henninger