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Promoting Democracy Through Diplomacy

  • Hla Than

Committee on International Relations , U.S. House of Representatives , Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Il) held a hearing Thursday to examine U.S. Methods of Supporting Democracy Abroad.

Viktor became Ukraine’s newest leader in January 2005, after peaceful demonstrations helped overturn the former regime’s attempts at fraud in previous presidential elections.

Both supporters and opponents of Yushchenko agree that the $16.8 million provided by the United States in election assistance played a major role in Yuschenko’s victory.

The democratic gains in the Ukraine illustrate the importance and effectiveness of foreign assistance in the promotion of democracies. These democracies provide a more stable environment, leading to economic gains and, by extension, enhancing U.S. national security.

Each year, billions of U.S. dollars are given to promote democratization around the world. The largest contributor is the United States Agency for International Development, which gave nearly $1 billion for democratization in FY 2004 alone.

Currently, both the House and the Senate are considering their own versions of the Advance Democracy Act of 2005, legislation to more firmly establish democratization as an element of U.S. foreign policy.

Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State was among the democratization experts who testified before the Committee on International Relations on Thursday.

She said, "On Burma , you know that Secretary Rice indentified Burma as outpost of tyranny. We've worked very closely with many NGOs, many activists, in terms of trying to provide assistance to those Burmese activists , those who are inside and those who are in Thailand. Let me just say briefly, that we will continue our very strong and steadfast support of them."

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