A Good Question About ‘Democracy Promotion’

I’m all for it (not agin it!), but this is a very good question (boldface mine):

Even if we put to one side the reservations about the composition of the new Ukrainian government, there was much to condemn in manner of its birth. It’s okay to have one revolution, but two in ten years is not an auspicious development. Victoria Nuland recently let slip that the United States had invested $5 billion in building democratic institutions in Ukraine over the past two decades; one would suppose that part of our civics instruction included the lesson that in modern democracies, governments are changed via elections, not through street demonstrations. But perhaps not. She ought to be pressed to give an accounting of how those funds were spent and what lessons were inculcated to our eager pupils with respect to proper democratic procedures. Jefferson taught “absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.” Of course, the State Department fully adheres to that doctrine—except when it doesn’t, as in the instant case….

In democracies, people have a right to demonstrate, but a fraction of the people does not have the right to bring down a government. The western leaders who sanctioned such a principle in Ukraine would never allow it in their own jurisdictions.

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