The Faulty Economic Model Behind America's Support for Dictators Instead of Democracies

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Sun, 02/13/2011 - 22:43 | 958696 essence
essence's picture

Hello Hacker

This isn't 1970, haven't you noticed.

The U.S. is broke, with little industry left to support any 40 year old agreement.
Heck ... the U.S. needs foreign aid. It no longer qualifies as a "rich" nation if one travels outside the beltway or wall st.

As for the argument that it represents only x % amount of the budget, that can be said for any program. A wrecking ball needs to be taken to federal programs.


Sun, 02/13/2011 - 19:10 | 958318 essence
essence's picture

Regardless whether the U.S. supports dictators or democracy, the part that involves foreign aid needs to stop. When you're broke, isn't it absurd to be thinking you have the capacity to meddle abroad?

The U.S. is borrowing 40% of every dollar the government spends.

But then that does't affect the imperials in Washington does it.
Main Street can go under, Social Security can be cut,  while they rationalize that the chess game should go on and they still have carte blanche.
Why they don't even think about stopping foreign aid. The very thought is alien to them, they're that far out of touch with the population.

Foreign Aid will continue ....  untill Americans DEMAND that it stops and the government live within its means.




Sun, 02/13/2011 - 22:11 | 958652 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

I would be careful not to overstate the amount of foreign aid that the US actually provides poor countries. In 1970 the OECD countries agreed to donate 0.7% of their GDP to the Third World. Forty-one years later, that goal is still unmet, not even close. The average has been 0.2%-0.4%, and the US, while the most generous donor in dollar terms, is the stingiest in terms of GDP. Even if we eliminated all non-military foreign aid, the impact on the total budget would be minimal.

A good analysis of these issues and foreign aid in general is at

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 18:46 | 958280 gwar5
gwar5's picture

I agree with you we should not support dictators, but as reminder...

Barack Obama strongly supported the failed marxist dictator takeover of the democratic republic of Honduras with the help of Hugo Chavez backing the wannabee, Manuel Zelaya, June 2009.

Obama did not speak out against the Iranian dictatorship and mullahcracy and coldly turned his back on the people dying in the streets at a time when an outside moral voice could have made a difference. 

Obama appeases the Russian dictators Putin and Medvedev who are assassinating journalists and dissidents and turns his back on our steadfast allies in Eastern Europe like the Czechs and Poles and does it on the anniversary of the German invasion of Poland as a cruel joke.

Obama appeases the Chinese dictators and makes the Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate, walk out the side door of the White House next to the bags of trash piled high.

Obama looks the other way and is complicit as the cronies on Wall Street commit the biggest theft in the history of the world, which is throwing the world into economic chaos and mass starvation looming

Obama tells his American countrymen to "sit down, shut up, and get out of the way" and calls them his "enemies" and says to "hit them back twice as hard", which is strange totalitarian language coming from a guy who is supposed to be the leader of the free world and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I don't think it's too much to expect an American president not to embrace bigger dictators like the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, South Americans, Cubans, Syrians, and North Koreans before he goes and dumps the old-boy dictators whose strategist interests, at least, include our success and not our destruction. 

And let the record show that in 2005 Condoleezza Rice made a well known speech in Cairo calling for Egypt to undergo democratic reforms and have open and fair elections.

In 2005, while the coalition troops were still in Iraq: the Syrian army retreated out of Lebanon, Libya renounced nukes and said they'd carry out reforms, and the Taliban were not threating Pakistan. That was the time to have free and fair elections in Egypt and a transformational open constitutional government.



Sun, 02/13/2011 - 18:33 | 958263 blindman
blindman's picture

economic model / money system trumps

political description, rendering said description

artless and heartless.

 a.r. " give me control of

a nations money supply and i care not who makes

the laws. "


perhaps democracies would more likely reject the debt money system

and this is why they have been discouraged in international relations. ?

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 18:28 | 958255 atomicwasted
atomicwasted's picture

South Korea and Chile both made a transition from military dictatorship to democracy, fairly smoothly.  But the success of two countries in that dictator group doesn't validate the idea that the "benign dictator" model is a good idea.  If anything, those two countries probably just represent one tail of the bell curve of that model.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 18:27 | 958239 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Democracy is by definition more pluralistic that other forms of governance and should tend toward producing broad consensus outcomes.  But democracy all by itself is morally and ethically neutral and shouldn't be used as a one word litmus test for good or fair government.  After all, in a pure democracy 51% of the people might vote to hang the other 49% from trees.  If you agree that rape is wrong, democracy doesn't make it right just because "we voted on it."

The United States has had the tremendous success that its had mostly because of things like property rights, enforceable contracts, civil rights and a reasonably fair judiciary.  I would certainly prefer to live under a monarchy that had these things than a democracy that didn't.

When Bush (and others before him ) push American advocacy of democracy, don't assume all that important stuff I just mentioned is taken for granted.  Reasonably fair democratic elections have resulted in not just Thomas Jefferson but Hitler, Ha-mas and Hezbollah running the show.

If I were an Egyptian I'd be more concerned with getting a system in place that would allow me to get a clear, defensible and transferable title to my property and making sure I had specific, definite rights that outline what the state can not do to me (what Obama disparages as negative rights) than I would be about ensuring that the victor of a one-man-one-vote election gets shown to Mubarak's throne ASAP.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 17:44 | 958181 ddtuttle
ddtuttle's picture

As much as I sympathize with efforts to promote democracy, implicit in this whole idea is that US is in a position to "dictate" what form of government a country should have. I would argue that there are numerous forces acting within every country that actually determine the outcome. First, are the wealthy citizens of that country. In a tyrannical regime, there is likely to be small group of extremely wealthy individuals. These people may own local real estate and businesses, but have their money in foreign banks. They have important relationships with those bankers, and can and probably have borrowed large amounts of money from them. In addition, foreign corporations often cut deals with these owners to exploit natural resources like oil or minerals. Sometimes they set factories and employ the population not engaged in agriculture.

These "oligarchs" usually consider themselves superior to the "little" people of their country, and at best are benevolent patriarchs. A common form of economics is serfdom, or sharecropping. The farmers lease the land, and share the profits with the owner. The secret to this is to keep the peasants' share small enough that they have to borrow money from next years crop to make it this year. Of course, this goes on forever. These people and their bankers are vested in keeping things the way they are. It is the web of landed aristocracy and foreign interests that ultimately decide how the country should be run. If the peasants are likely to revolt, a cruel dictator is "hired" and put in power to keep the citizenry down. A less cruel system can exist where revolt is a more remote possibility.

The US is not really in a position influence the outcome of this. But we are in a position to exploit the situation. Our bankers can keep everyone in debt, our corporations can exploit their resources and cheap labor, and our military can persuade them to accept a base, which helps "keep the peace"; i.e., the status quo. After investing in the status quo in this way, any revolt would cause problems for our banks, corporations and possibly create regional military tension. In the end we end up being part of the problem, but in most cases the problem is home grown. The American people want democracy to spread, but many of our businesses are invested in things as they are. On the other hand should we really be in the business of overthrowing governments that aren't a direct threat, even if it is to establish a democracy?

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 17:42 | 958178 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

The "economic model" we're talking about here isn't uncorrupted free-market capitalism, but, rather, the real-world combination of militarism-imperialism-corporatism that Noam Chomsky describes so cogently (e.g. What Uncle Sam Really Wants ). We shouldn't be surprised that we end up with serial military entanglements abroad and a police state at home, given that these were two of our inputs.

I wonder if it doesn't make more sense to measure a country's readiness for democracy by its level of education, rather than its level of income. The indispensable element for real democracy is an educated and involved electorate, capable of critical analysis and open discussion. Keep the poor in everlasting ignorance, and you can argue forever that they're too poor and stupid to be ready for democracy. Meanwhile, the educated rich can continue to loot the country.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 14:21 | 957820 aerial view
aerial view's picture

yes the economic model is flawed but it's because those in control always have ulterior motives: further control of others while enriching themselves. Our govt has become one insatiable power cartel constantly finding new ways to prey on the weak and uniformed. It is easy to win at anything when you are willing to play dirty and can change the rules to justify your actions. The solution is to either vote in honest incorruptible people into office or simply rewrite all the laws, plug them into a computer and let the computer run the country.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 17:20 | 958140 Sparkey
Sparkey's picture

"rewrite all the laws, plug them into a computer and let the computer run the country."

Aerial view, computers do control your life now what many don't see about the ubiquitous computer is; computers are machines and like all machines they are controlled by someone, so now society is  devolving into two broad classes, one, composed of  almost everyone interacts with the front of the machine to obtain their daily needs, the other, much smaller group stands behind and controls the machine which controls the masses, the technicians who control the machines are in turn controlled by a very small group, possibly no larger than 1/10 of 1 %, possibly the top 1/10%, do you think?

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 18:20 | 958237 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture


"... stands behind and controls the machine..."

Lots of layers, unlike, e.g.:

population-wise, yes.  6BB*0.0001=600k 'movers-shakers' (disregard drones and retainers).

Programming normal stuff is hard.  Programming algoz produces e.g. 5.6.10 flash crash and AAPL nonsense last week.  Asimov envisioned programming that could work on society.  Me?  Not so much.

Not at all to say that they won't try.  Poke the system in the eye with a stick.

- Ned

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 14:11 | 957804 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

The belief that imperialism is due to a faulty "economic model" or a faulty 1% "terrorist" doctrine is wrong-headed.

Whether manifest destiny, the white man’s burden, or "spreading democracy",

the concocted arguments have been numerous, and mostly beside the point.

The swindling by Goldman Sachs, the TBTFs, and Halliburton is not due to a faulty economic model.

Nor does the “securing” of resources, MIC profiteering, Mubarak’s corruption, or the Bremer-led pillage of Iraq have much to do with any of the convenient economic excuses given.

The justifications for plunder, pillage, torture, murder, and elitist rule are many, ranging from the religious to the Shock Doctrine.

The basic cause however, lies within the current structure and relationship of power.

Attempting to persuade the ruling elite to follow a more efficient or theoretically profitable course of action for them, will do nothing to alter the problems due to their kleptocratic and autocratic rule.

In fact, there is no way to rationally persuade them that securing control of resources, financial manipulation, and global militarism do not benefit them - because they do benefit.

If exposing some of the elite’s PR justifications helps others to be more critical, all to the good.

But portraying decisions and policies made as due to some misunderstanding,

presents a falsely benign and neutral quality to the process.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 13:45 | 957770 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Our government supports capitalism, not democracy.

There is also the false belief that capitalism leads to democracy and prosperity. It doesn't. Democracy leads to prosperity. Unregulated capitalism leads to an oligarchy.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 16:27 | 957768 AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture

I'm not sure citing members of the CFR adds credibility to your argument GW- do some digging into Halperin's past and you might be surprised what you come up with


LOL follow this link at



George I know you rail against the left-right paradigm but I wonder if in the dark recesses of your library is a well worn copy of  Arianna Huffington's biography

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 13:37 | 957755 falak pema
falak pema's picture

The fundamental postulate here is the American imperium. What should America do? When, where, how and with whom as buddy-buddy or enemy.

The USA is perceived as Athens under Pericles : Democracy at home, Hegemony abroad. God help you if you act like the Melians. If you are not for us you are against us. The Delian League etc. We know what happened to Athens in history. How the fallacy of two types of freedom; for victors and victims was exposed as untenable. It led to Athen's fall.


Soooo, the question now is why are Americans debating this as if they OWNED the world, their Mare Nostrum of old. When Benbernakification is wanking them into economic oblivion.


The question no longer is : Quo Vadis Egypt et al. But Quo vadis USA?

The rest is just literature as the world runs away from the grasp of Old glory.

It most likely is no more America's problem with every day that passes. Strap on your safety belts...Put on your life jackets...get ready to push eject button...if you can access it!

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 18:35 | 958265 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture
  • Sorry I thought it was benbernankifuckification?
Sun, 02/13/2011 - 13:13 | 957716 Misean
Misean's picture

Meh. It's all crap from a bunch of morons who's only accomplishments are brown nosing their way up bureaucracies. Dumbocracies given less aid...dumbocracies do better...huh? Couldn't be the relationship to look at though...

Government to government transfers are nothing more than making the state bigger than the tax base can support. It means capital (human and physical) malinvestment. Since the dumbocracies were given less external money to piss away, the economies supporting the parasitical state did better.

It's quite obvious, unless you're paid to be a parasite.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 13:07 | 957705 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

The original view was that we should support authoritarian semi capitalist governments because they were more likely to transition into democratic market based republics than authoritarian socialist govenments may be false also. Authoritarian socialist governments have not necessarily proven more stable and more immune from democratic revolution

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 12:51 | 957678 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

"let them eat ethanol"

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 12:11 | 957619 TimmyM
TimmyM's picture

You should move this argument toward no foriegn aid. All aid is corrupted. Yes, emperial resource exploitation aid is the worst. But any aid becomes that regardless of intentions. Have you pondered about the inflationary effects of diminished emperial exploitation?

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 11:52 | 957593 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Real politik is a nasty mother.  It reveals nations as they are.


Sun, 02/13/2011 - 21:00 | 958517 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

Yep, just finished watching 60 Minutes session on how GOOG is enthusiastically working to destabilize a foreign government.  Link not yet posted, but all y'all can look for it.  Piss-ant (thirty-something) is bragging about how they organized the protest.

GOOG executives frequent visitors to WH, y'all can look that up.

I'm thinking back to Diem in South Vietnam, before he was, well, dead.  Lots of stuff on-line looks like it has been eventuated to some other place. 

GOOG helping 'community' get organized in a way that they know will result in world wide broadcast of their 'protest.'

80MM Egyptian Citizens, let's say 1MM 'protestors'.  So that means that 1/80=1.25% of 'peaceful' protestors can abrogate the constitution? 

AnA: Real politik is a bitch--Kissinger is smiling.

- Ned

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 13:16 | 957720 umop episdn
umop episdn's picture

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."   Frederic Bastiat

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 14:14 | 957810 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

great quote!

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