Just listen to what the Bush budget is saying.
The administration has pumped substantial new funds into promoting democracy in Muslim countries but virtually nowhere else in the world. The administration has cut budgets for groups struggling to build civil society and democratic institutions in Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia, even as Moscow has pulled back from democracy and governments in China, Burma, Uzbekistan and elsewhere remain among the most repressive in the world.
Funding for the National Endowment for Democracy has remained flat for the past two years except in the Middle East, while separate democracy-building programs have been slashed by 38 percent in Eastern Europe and 46 percent in the former Soviet Union during Bush’s presidency. The venerable beacons of American-style democracy, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia, are receiving no sizable increases.
“The president is not putting his money where his mouth is,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch. While giving Bush credit for investing in democracy in the Middle East, he added, “There are just big country-by-country, region-by-region differences when it comes to the administration’s commitment to democracy promotion.”
“There are a number of countries that aren’t getting much democracy aid,” said Thomas Carothers, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s project on democracy and the rule of law. Carothers pointed to mass arrests of protesters seeking restoration of democracy in Nepal this week. “There are places like that where we’re losing because they’re on the edge of the world and people aren’t paying attention.”