The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020;
or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Is McCain's 'League of Democracies' an Attempt to Kill the UN?


During the first presidential debate, Sen. John McCain repeatedly
referred to his proposal for a "League of Democracies." The following
analysts have followed this proposal and can assess it:

Director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carothers wrote the policy brief "Is a League of Democracies a Good Idea?"

Earlier this year he wrote in a piece in the Washington Post:
"A puzzle of globalization is that despite the astonishing growth in
communication and information flows, Washington lives in a bubble,
seeing the world through its own lens, being surprised and disappointed
again and again when the world does not conform to U.S. expectations.
President Bush's foreign policy is a study in the bubble approach... In
this regard, the declarations and debates about foreign policy in the
presidential campaign so far are not especially reassuring. One of the
most visible proposals, the calls by experts on both sides of the
political aisle and by Sen. John McCain for the establishment of a
League of Democracies to tackle the world's problems, is an example of
continued thinking within the bubble."


Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for
Policy Studies, Bennis said today: "The idea of a 'League of
Democracies' is an only slightly more polite way of saying 'club of all
the countries we like, designed to exclude and probably gang up on all
the countries "we" don't like.'

"The irony, of course, is that some of Washington's best friends --
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan all come to mind -- are one-man
or one-family dictatorships. The countries often targeted by the U.S.
as anti-democratic, but where more or less democratic elections are
held, like Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Venezuela, Bolivia and
elsewhere, most often elect leaders whose popularity is grounded in
saying 'no' to Washington's economic and war policies.
"The United Nations remains the most important, most representative
multilateral forum, representing ALL the countries of the world. It's
not functioning very well these days largely because the U.S. has
continued its history (which began with U.S. wiretapping of delegates
to the very founding convention of the UN in 1945) of attempting to
control the global organization even while undermining its legitimacy.
A strong United Nations, democratized and reflecting the emerging
multi-polar world we live in, would make not only Americans but the far
more vulnerable populations around the world, safer, healthier and more
secure. A U.S.-dominated 'league of democracies' will put all of us at
greater risk."

Bennis is author of Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power.
More Information

Charles Krauthammer, the influential commentator, said on Fox News
Channel on March 26, 2008: "Well, I like the idea of the League of
Democracies, and only in part because I and others had proposed it
about six years ago. What I like about it, it's got a hidden agenda. It
looks as if it's all about listening and joining with allies, all the
kind of stuff you'd hear a John Kerry say, except that the idea here,
which McCain can't say, but I can, is to essentially kill the UN." See
full text and video here.

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.