Monday, August 5, 2013

Regime Change Inc.'s ,from Converts to Missionaries,to the Arab Stings ... Converts to Missionaries: Central and Eastern European Democracy
The young democracies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are eager to share lessons from their post-Communist transitions with democratic aspirants. As revolutionary movements swept across the Middle East and North Africa, CEE actors offered their knowledge to help Arab countries, especially Tunisia and Egypt, with their attempted transitions to democracy. But to translate good intentions into real impact, CEE states must move past sharing general transition know-how and distinguish themselves from other aid providers.


  • CEE donors believe they have important comparative advantages in democracy support in the Middle East and North Africa because they were not colonial powers in the region and because of their recent experience with political transformation. In their view, that experience translates into a special peer-to-peer dynamic with Arab partners.
  • [[[[While revolutionary events unfolded in Tunisia and Egypt, CEE governments threw their rhetorical, diplomatic, and moral support behind the protesters.]]]]]]]
  • After the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, CEE actors sponsored experience-sharing conferences, seminars, study visits, and training sessions covering a range of issues, from economic and security sector reform to election monitoring and transitional justice.
  • Long-term projects have been scarcer due to these countries’ small aid budgets, but CEE assistance providers have creatively leveraged their resources and expertise through coalitions with their larger, more established American and Western European counterparts.
  • In interviews, Arab recipients report that while CEE assistance has been useful, it has been underfunded and sometimes poorly targeted to local needs.

How CEE Governments Can Have a Lasting Impact Promote innovative, decentralized approaches to democracy assistance. CEE actors should establish an on-the-ground presence in the region and channel their limited funding into local civil society activities, especially to newer, less bureaucratic organizations pursuing more novel approaches, such as youth organizations working on direct democracy, citizen-led watchdogs monitoring corruption and advancing transparency, and grassroots initiatives focused on transforming the political system through bottom-up activism. Help facilitate the creation of robust civil societies. CEE activists should leverage their experiences with civil society building. They should offer advice on how to convert broad opposition movements united against old regimes into representative political parties and responsible civil society actors that can play a crucial role in fostering a democratic transition. Adapt CEE lessons to meet recipient countries’ unique needs. CEE governments should demonstrate that they understand better than other external actors how the smart adaptation of lessons from one region to another is what makes democracy support truly valuable. Introduction
Recent converts are often endowed with missionary zeal. Following the downfall of Communism across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the former Soviet satellites in the region transformed into young democracies, teeming with many true believers in the founding values of the new regimes. Thanks to them, CEE foreign policy establishments quickly became known for displays of moral fiber in combating authoritarianism around the globe. The fervent advocacy earned CEE diplomats and activists a reputation as emerging experts in civil society building and advisers on transitions to democracy. After entering the European Union (EU), CEE countries rebranded their efforts to extend the world’s zone of freedom and prosperity. What they had before characterized as the general pursuit of democratic ideals they began describing more specifically as the exporting or sharing of their transition know-how. In the post-Soviet space in particular, CEE democracy work became a veritable industry in the 2000s. Currently, CEE governments sponsor millions of dollars’ worth of democracy assistance projects in countries of the Eastern Partnership, such as Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine (which have some strategic agreements with but are not members of the EU). Complementing CEE governments’ efforts are private consultancies staffed by former officials that offer policy advice on issues ranging from security and decentralization to good governance and EU integration.
Both the Eastern Partnership and the European Endowment for Democracy—an independent foundation created by the EU to advance freedom and democracy that is ideationally, if not institutionally, inspired by its American counterpart, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)—are at least partially triumphs of CEE policy entrepreneurship.[[[[[[[The Arab Awakening opened the door to a vital new target region for Central and Eastern European democracy support. CEE governments, politicians, civic actors, and intellectuals immediately embraced the challenges of providing guidance to democratic aspirants across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), demonstrating not just a readiness but also a remarkable zeal to offer their assistance]]]]]]]. Early images of former [[[[Polish president Lech Wałęsa hobnobbing with opposition politicians in Tripoli or of Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski offering to fly refugees from Benghazi to safety in his jet initiated a heated debate about whether lessons drawn from post-Communist transitions to democracy in CEE states are transferable to the Arab world.]]]]]
CEE activists hoping to play a useful role in the social and political changes taking place across the MENA region believe these lessons give them a comparative advantage over other international democracy assistance providers. In seeking more active involvement in the political affairs of MENA countries, they are striving to simultaneously boost democratic movements in the region and establish CEE democracy assistance as a global foreign policy brand.
To this end, CEE countries have established a range of democracy assistance initiatives in MENA since the Arab Awakening. While these efforts have been generally well received,1 there is room for improvement. To provide deep, lasting democracy support to the Arab world, CEE donors should focus not only on sharing insights from their own political transitions but also on adapting these lessons to the unique needs of MENA recipients, who tend to see a disconnect between what is offered and what is needed.

Game-changing language used ahead of the 1989 revolutions, such as then U.S. president Ronald Reagan’s labeling of the Soviet Union as the “evil empire” or then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s reference to a “common European home,” shifted the borders of what was deemed an appropriate delineation of the Cold War discursive space. This experience engendered the belief among CEE political leaders that condemning authoritarian excesses and vocally backing the democratic opposition count just as much as other measures of support, such as military intervention or development aid.
This is one of the reasons why, as the Arab Awakening unfolded, policymakers and opinionmakers in CEE countries attempted to speak out more openly and with less guarded language against the authoritarian administrations of former presidents Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt than some of their counterparts in Western European and North American governments. It also helped that, unlike the United States or France, CEE countries had few vested interests—be they strategic or economic—in the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, which means they risked relatively little by supporting the revolutionaries.
On the EU level, CEE states became a powerful voice calling for a boost in assistance to MENA civil society in the early days of the Arab Awakening. Krzysztof Stanowski, former under secretary of state at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave an account of the initial understanding of the significance of the Arab revolts to CEE nations:
[[[[[[In early 2011, we held a conference “Solidarity with Belarus,” with 37 participating countries. We tried to explain to the   audience that Eastern Europe is our neighborhood, just as it should be for France or Italy. In turn, North Africa is our neighborhood as well, just as it is for France and Italy. It is crucial that we use our collective power to reach out to the civil society in undemocratic or democratizing states.Central and Eastern Europeans also began to consider aiding democracy activists and advocates in the MENA region as strategically important. They thought of it as a way to ensure good relations with the political successors to the falling Arab autocrats. But they based their prodemocratic stance on more than mere geopolitical flexing of CEE soft power.]]]]]]]
The emerging CEE efforts to share transition know-how with Tunisians and Egyptians also reflected a widespread belief in Central and Eastern Europe that such actions were intrinsically good and appropriate. Former dissidents, public intellectuals, and activists endorsed their governments’ new commitment to devote more attention—in the form of diplomatic relations, aid, and experience sharing—to the MENA region as a moral imperative. The rationale for the strategic repositioning of democracy assistance toward MENA was well captured by Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak:
[Slovakia] as a state and . . . [its] nongovernmental sector cannot succumb to complacency, and we need to seek out new challenges and stimuli. We have a positive experience with democratic transition that Germany, the Netherlands, or France cannot offer because they simply do not have it. It is good for us to venture out of our Western Balkans/Eastern Partnership “comfort zone” and offer it in environments that are more difficult or less intuitive to test and reevaluate our lessons.
[[[[[There was also a sense of indebtedness on the part of CEE activists and intellectuals to the role of outsiders in democratic transitions, stemming from the West’s role as midwife to the CEE democracies]]]]]]
Before the MENA revolutions, its trainers organized several strategic workshops on nonviolent civil resistance and shared their know-how and experience from the Bulldozer Revolution that overthrew Milošević. According to Ivan Marovic, a former trainer at the center:
Usually people have an unsuccessful protest, go back to contemplation, look for inspiration, learn about it, and then they try again. In Egypt, the people involved in the . . . [political protests] of 2005 and 2006 educated themselves and then were involved in the ouster of Mubarak. There was a similar pattern in Serbia—1996 and 2000, and in Ukraine—2001 and 2004.
[[[[[[[[Speaking about the center’s activities across MENA, Popovic said that “the region contains one of . . . [the organization’s] biggest successes, Lebanon, and one of its most disappointing failures, Iran.”]]]]]]] Linking the center’s work to the events of 2011, Popovic added:
Among the leaders of the movement that brought down Mubarak were members of the April 6 Youth Movement, who came to Belgrade in 2009 to learn how to conduct peaceful demonstrations and cope with violence from security forces without resorting to it themselves.
These examples illustrate that CEE countries made some isolated—and, to a certain extent, successful—attempts to provide democracy assistance to the MENA region before the recent wave of demonstrations and political transitions. But the Arab Awakening marked the beginning of a paradigm shift in the region’s relations with MENA, sparking CEE interest in tightening bonds in general and contributing to democratization in particular.
Poland, which was the largest CEE donor in 2011, committed over $9.9 million to the MENA region as a whole. Polish development assistance supported a range of programs aimed at drawing transferable lessons from the CEE transitions. These schemes involved a cross-section of government ministries in addition to NGOs.
A notable example of a brief but high-impact Polish project was the invitation of seven Tunisian election observers and several representatives of Egypt’s High Electoral Commission to Poland’s October 2011 parliamentary election. Despite its limited scope, this endeavor had a tangible impact in Egypt: some of the procedures that the monitors observed in Poland, such as voting from abroad through embassies, were subsequently introduced in their country. Moreover, Egypt reciprocated Poland’s invitation ahead of its parliamentary elections in February 2012. This is noteworthy because Poland’s European Solidarity Center was the only European organization invited to witness Egypt’s vote.21
The Polish government established an even more permanent presence in Tunisia. At an early brainstorming conference in April 2011 at the U.S. embassy in Warsaw, five members of the Zagranica Group, an association of Polish NGOs involved in international development and democracy support, expressed interest in working in Tunisia. Since then, these five organizations—the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation, the Other Space Foundation, the Foundation in Support of Local Democracy, the Education for Democracy Foundation, and the Center for International Relations—have been drafting strategies to promote a culture of volunteering, urban development in local communities, support for independent civic organizations, and free media (including encouragement of citizen journalism).22
Following a Polish-Tunisian roundtable in July 2012, Poland decided to invest in creating an intergovernmental Polish-Tunisian Institute for Democracy and Development to share its expertise in enacting reforms and to support democracy dialogue and civil society building.23 Co-run and co-financed by representatives from both countries, it is a rare example of a joint CEE-MENA venture with on-the-ground presence and an aspiration to set the tone of local discourse on transition in the long run.
Other CEE countries took varying approaches to both the amount of funding they directed toward longer-term efforts and the composition of the projects. The Czech Republic, through its Transition Promotion Program, funded four small projects using official development assistance in 2011. However the total amount of resources committed to the Middle East overall was quite small: in 2011, the Czech Republic spent only $3.26 million, or 1.3 percent of its total official development assistance, on bilateral assistance in the Middle East, allocating $390,000 of this amount to Egypt to cover programs focused on civil society support.24 Leading Czech NGOs People in Need, Europeum, and the Association for International Affairs focused on sharing transition know-how, training journalists, and raising awareness about women’s rights. [[[[[[[Czech activists hint that hesitance to commit more development assistance resources stems, in part, from their country’s longtime staunch pro-Israeli foreign policy stance.]]]]]]]
Some of the new, more cash-strapped EU members, such as Bulgaria or Estonia, resorted to channeling official development assistance and other resources of larger and more established Western donors to Tunisia and Egypt. [[[[This practice mirrors a solution to aid scarcity that has already been implemented in the post-Soviet space, where the United States and the CEE states share the financial burden of democracy assistance under the framework of the Emerging Donors Challenge Fund established by the U.S. State Department.]]]]]]] This fund allows CEE countries to submit development project proposals to the U.S. State Department, which agrees to match the grants given by CEE countries on whichever projects it selects. So far, the United States and CEE countries—the latter via the International Visegrad Fund, part of an organization founded by the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to facilitate and promote cooperation among citizens and institutions in Central Europe—have both contributed $3 million toward projects implemented by CEE NGOs in countries such as Belarus and Moldova. The next round of proposals under the Emerging Donors Challenge Fund should include a recommendation to explore opportunities for involvement in the MENA region.

Furthermore, CEE governments and NGOs are proactively exploring options for engagement in public-private initiatives, such as the [[[[[German Marshall Fund’s MENA Partnership for Democracy and Development.]]]]]]
...HE AND GMF HAVE TIES... In August 2005 he talked at a conference titled Solidarity Twenty-Five Years On: Lessons in the Struggle for Freedom which was "Cosponsored by Freedom House.,National Endowment for Democracy,the German Marshall Fund of the United States,the International Republican Institute, Radio (1:00 )
This initiative was launched in December 2012 as an “international clearinghouse of service providers, donors, experts, and experienced practitioners” that various actors involved in the MENA transitions can draw upon as needed.28  
Most CEE donors have also begun making strategic use of international and regional organizations and forums to help set the agenda of the democracy assistance community devoted to the MENA region. They have focused primarily on the Community of Democracies, its virtual network Leaders Engaged in New Democracies, and the Visegrad Group.

.Fine-Tuning Cooperation With Former Western Teachers
CEE policymakers argue that their countries’ comparative advantages, especially when harnessed by experienced aid donors in tested, multistakeholder coalitions, can help the international community exert more leverage on the reform process in democratizing nations such as Tunisia and Egypt. This argument is bolstered by the long and successful track record of CEE NGOs working in tandem with intergovernmental as well as nongovernmental organizations, including the UNDP, USAID, NED, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Open Society Foundations, the German Marshall Fund, and the German Stiftungen (political foundations), some of which are currently helping the CEE newcomers tackle challenges related to their recently acquired donor status.
Financial arrangements are a particularly thorny issue. According to Svoboda of People in Need, “our involvement can just as easily provide American funding with credibility as it can deprive us of ours, which is something that happened to us while we were implementing a project financed via a U.S. grant in Northern Egypt.”
Equality with Western counterparts is also important to CEE donors. Olendzki mentioned a curious case of what he called the “Marriott brigades” in Poland to illustrate that Central and Eastern Europeans do not simply want to serve as researchers for bigger donors:
In the 1990s, there were [some] specialists from abroad staying at expensive hotels, who paid our own experts peanuts to deliver the substance for their reports and then gave advice to our governments based on that for a lot of money. We have to be in a partnership.
Pooling expertise—combining U.S. and EU theory with CEE practice, as well as practice from other regions—dividing tasks, being on equal terms, and employing common standards of impact evaluation could indeed be a way toward even greater donor coordination and hopefully more effective assistance. But the latter target, especially, is still a long shot, at least according to a high-ranking Slovak diplomat active in the Tunisia Task Force of the Community of Democracies, who noted that perceptions of donors and recipients often diverge: “In Washington, officials commend us for our efforts, while in Tunis, they often do not know what we are even doing.” Until those problems identified as obstacles to CEE aid by both donors and recipients are addressed, the goal of more effective assistance will remain elusive.

[ed notes;click link for whole piece,wich is lengthy (reason i cant post even 1/4th here) but very indicative of just how western colonial govts used front organizations and foundations,think tanks,to midwife the arab spring,utilizing the eastern european anti communist model(this was never no secret to anyone paying attention)lkots of great admissions here..and considering european endowment fr democracy is now fully assisting mena region with funds,experts,and policy directives,the tumultuous ride will continue to offer greater insigths into their already see thru plans for neocolonial neoliberal expansion under faux democracy assistance link for whole expose..btw carnegie is one of major players and has been elading the whole arab sting project..As far as Poland leading the whole initiative for Mena Region,one has to look no further for evidence of neocolonial onslaught then Polands/E.U.  EDD  (NED modelled) project now anchored and deeply entrenched in MENA region... E.U. COMMISSION  ALLOCATES ''6 MILLION DOLLARS'' TO NEW ''EUROPEAN ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY''  MODELLED ON C.I.A. FRONT N.E.D.

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