What Diplomatic Tools Can Be Leveraged To Promote Good Governance?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 14, 2009
Ballot Box in Ireland

Secretary Clinton just returned from an 11-day, seven nation trip to Africa, where she discussed ways to promote broad-based economic growth and foster good governance, partnering with regional leaders to prevent conflict and violence, including gender-based violence, democratic erosions and transnational threats.

Speaking to the Liberian National Legislature, Secretary Clinton said, “Democracy has to deliver, and both President Obama and I believe that dignity is central to what is at the core of successful democracies: a voice for every citizen in the decisions that affect your life, your community, and your country; the opportunity to earn a decent wage and provide for your family and live without fear; an equal chance, no matter what your background, your gender, your faith, ethnicity, or station in life; to combine your motivation and ambition with the opportunity that every society should present to its people; and a government elected freely and fairly, accountable to the people it serves.”

What diplomatic tools can be leveraged to promote good governance?



New York, USA
August 15, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Diplomatic Tools for Human Rights

Promote Human Rights and Support organizations dedicated to defense of Human Rights. Not just prior to or following elections; but all year-round.

Virginia, USA
August 15, 2009

Victor in Virginia writes:

Education and solid social support networks are both crucial. Our Foreign Service should do everything possible to promote these two things that are fundamental to good governance.

United States
August 15, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

When was the last time you had an intelligent, public conversation with your local politician about a controversial subject without feeling attacked, judged or invalidated?

In Saudi Arabia, any citizen can discuss problems with an important official, often even the King.

In America, face-to-face citizen contact is so rare that it makes t.v. news when it happens.

The American politician has many censorship tactics to prevent opposing points of view from getting the opportunity to express themselves.

Mostly, "We the People" censor and police each other, denying free expression of ideas. This censorship mentality begins in our public schools and continues throughout our lives.

Mostly we police each other into conformity and blind obedience to rules and norms that are unquestioned and unchallenged through peer pressure - either you believe the way we do or we'll ostracize, humiliate and criticize you until you knuckle under or go away.

In international relations, if you reject our point of view, we may publicly criticize or humiliate your leaders, sever your banking relationships, demand confidential records or information, or threaten to "regime change" your government, revoke your visas or make other threats, using the global news media as a diplomatic weapon.

Censorship inside America might involve the outright denial of airtime or funding, time limits on debates, shouting matches, threats of litigation, limits on subject matter, a seven-second delay on live radio or television, public humiliation, discrediting or false accusations, setting up distant and inconvenient "free speech zones" where citizens may speak but no politician is around to listen.

Global corporations influence the media in a similar way, by conditioning their sponsorship upon the censorship of any negative news reporting around their companies. Wonder why you haven't gotten any real news lately?

Censorship may block our ears from hearing opinions and/or words that someone else has already prejudged as invalid or inappropriate, but it also prevents any possibility of dialoguing intelligent solutions and coalition building.

Are our political leaders so insecure about their point of view that they must prevent others from expressing a different idea?

The answer is plainly, yes, they are. And they are so arrogant that they want the world to believe that angry citizens are part of some kind of political plot, and it involves only health care. They know citizens are angry and there is more to it than just health care, but they don't want you to know.

Governed with incredible arrogance and expanding military power, America is no longer a republic, but a slave state in which citizens are now forced to give their government over half of all they earn. As a result, personal bankruptcies are soaring, mortgage defaults are accelerating, and the entire U.S. economy has begun collapsing.

They don't want you to know how serious this is.

If it leaks out, disinformation is released to "debunk" it, to immunize the public from believing the reality -- that our government has destroyed our economy.

If you want to remain prosperous and free, do not listen to U.S. officials.

Explore alternatives within your own national resources and just say "NO" to World Bank loans, U.S. foreign aid, grants, economic or military assistance, or whatever else they call it -- all of that has ropes, not strings, attached to them, and this government is sinking. You will not want to get onboard.

California, USA
August 15, 2009

Donna in California writes:

Listening, paying attention, asking for the truth, learning culture & customs, respect for difference of opinion, and remember there is a solution -- first you must find the problem.

Robert F.
Maryland, USA
August 15, 2009

Robert F. in Maryland writes:

What diplomatic tools can be used to promote good governance? That's the thousand dollar question. We must find a way through peaceful means to promote not just good governance but also to ensure the basic human rights in all countries. I am concerned that our military efforts over the past eight years has been frustrating for our foreign policy. Not only are we still heavily involved in Iraq but we are increasing our military presence in Afghanistan. I will not debate the point about whether or not our presence is necessary in Afghanistan, we are simply there and must finish the mission. But what I am convinced of is that while me might win the battles in places such as Afghanistan we might ultimately lose the war if we do not begin to bring a real change to how we carry out our foreign policy in other countries, especially Arab countries. It is no secret that we (the west) is held in great disgust among the Arab youths. They feel humiliated in their countries because they can not get a decent education or climb the social ladder. While we dole out billions of dollars in aid to the governments of Arab countries we do not require the assurance of basic human rights as a condition for that aid. So where does our money go? How effective are our efforts in foreign policy? We must change. I believe we must begin by allocating a greater percentage of our foreign aid toward building schools and hospitals in third world countries, especially in Arab countries. Me must also begin demanding that governments that receive aid from us are actually using the money they receive to better the lives of the people they govern, and not just lining their pockets with the funds.

We must also insist that Israel get serious about a peace with the Palestinian people. I believe that if we were successful in helping to move this peace process forward in a meaningful way that our credibility would increase among the Arab youth. Far too long we've heard that peace is coming and yet nothing happens. This issue must be resolved.

In the end we must win the hearts and minds of the third world countries, especially those in Arab countries if we are to have an effective foreign policy. How we get there is the thousand dollar question. But we must get there, and soon!

Texas, USA
August 16, 2009

Peter in Texas writes:

I agree with GeorgeAnn. Soft power, or cultural attraction, can be used to promote good governance in a democracy-where peoples' wishes count. However, on the other hand, there's an even wider variety of diplomatic tools, such as the UN and economic coercion, to be used to influence events in undemocratic counries like China, N Korea, Myanmar, and other such totalitarian societies.

Amy K.
Virginia, USA
August 16, 2009

Amy K. in Virginia writes:

How about starting with the basics that we started with over 200 years ago? Let's stop worrying about equality while we help "the lost continent" achieve the "lowest common denominator" of standards. Fareed Zakaria theorizes that per capita income needs to be at least $3000 to sustain a democracy. I'm not sure I agree with that particular number but there is some minimum per capita income that enables the roots of democracy to take hold. So why not work to establish the enablers that are known to help an economy get to a given minimum per capita income. Things like intellectual property laws, micro-lending, etc. Throw out the equality, environmental, and other liberal agenda items. Let the roots of democracy take hold JUST LIKE OURS! We didn't start out with a bunch of rules making everyone equal - just the opposite. It was wrong and we are working to fix it but it's being driven internally in a way that works for our particular culture. The U.S. will never be able to insert itself into an equality debate in a place where tribes still mean far more than anything else. We could never begin to understand their paradigms in a way that would enable equality. That must come from inside. But, we can give them a foothold from which to start on the road to freedom for all. The foothold begins with the "lowest common denominators"....intellectual property laws, micro-lending, trading partners, etc.

South Korea
August 16, 2009

Mark in South Korea writes:

Increased cultural exchanges and work to establish long-term (read: permanent) educational institutions that work in the interests of beneficiaries (countries who, in this case need an improved governing apparatus), who will in turn be more interested in working with their benefactors (in this case, the U.S.). The benefactor should strongly encourage education, as this not only creates competent future leaders, but also helps to encourage long term faith and trust of the benefactor in the beneficiary country's said leaders.

It is important to emphasize mutually beneficial tools which develop human capital, as opposed to simple aid (teaching a man to fish, versus feeding him), while at the same time, ensuring there is a boon for the benefactor as well.

Massachusetts, USA
August 16, 2009

Jiesheng in the United Kingdom writes:

Please do not use the MCC/MCA or USAID for promoting governance. Development Aid is for development not imposing your rule

New York, USA
August 16, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Afghan Election Threats by Taliban...

Not to be weird, but the photo you show has a missing digit on the right hand of the person casting a ballot. The Taliban has theatened to cut off the finger of anyone who has a dyed finger after voting...maybe this election should be done without dipping the finger in dye? Why should anyone "dye" for casting their vote?

This Talibani,Islamic-Fundamentalist, right-wing zealotry, and reactions to it, are getting way out of hand.

If you want freedom, get out of the way and let it happen.

South Africa
August 17, 2009

Suleman in South Africa writes:

In for the USA to promote good governance ,it needs to change the way it deals with African leadership, namely Such Actions have been for example -:

1-) A policy of double standards ,where some dictatorial governments, in Africa, are effectively pressurized and forced to democratize and to stop excesses and join the path to good governance, (Kenya,Ghana,Zimbabwe) while others which are known to be Allies of USA are left either unhampered with or are treated with kid gloves (Egypt,Uganda,Ethiopia,Rwanda,DRC) has to stop.

2-Where Bilateral Monetary support through Programmes like the GlobalFund Milenium Funds ,Military training,etc.is perpetually given to dictatorial regimes.needs to be stopped with immediate effect.

3-Where favorable recommendation to lender Institutions like IMF,World Bank is given to dictatorial governments, enabling them to access loans,has to be stopped,because money lend to an undeocratic govt is wasted in corruption and misappropiation ,there no institutions too check the govt.

4- Where no serious audit is done to check reported Corruption and no sanction even where gross corruption is proved i.e. Uganda over the Global Fund. USA to get audit through private auditora for the the funds previously given to govt for the last 10 years.

5-Where favorable recommendation is given to Donor Countries to enable dictatorial govt get loans and receive assistance from Donor Countries has to be stopped and USA has to persuade other donour countries to adopt the same stringent conditions for all countries in Africa

6- Where favorable recommendation is given to such governments ,for hosting of International Conferences or Appointment to International Institutions like the UN. has to be stopped. It gives credibilty and makes the leaders arrogant and impervious to change

7- Where specific Bilateral financial support is given i.e. Military /police training, without checking the human rights records of these regimes. I.e. Uganda, Ethiopia.needs to be reconsidered

8- Just the way USA deals with Europe and Asia,USA needs to begin to support Opposition groups and parties in their attempts to effect good governance in their

USA has to take the lead and change its foreign policy as regards Africa. USA has to come up with an uncompromising strategy that will force the dictatorship and elected Monarchs to disengage from power.
Pressure like that mounted on Zimbabwe, Sudan,(Iran),Kenya , has to be applied uniformly across the board not selectively. -there is need to freeze some of the financial assistance, to stop the draining of resources which are meant for the ordinary people. -there is need to start freezing external Accounts of Corrupt leaders. There is need to start prosecuting leaders abusing human rights without picking a few. There is a need to start supporting and empowering Opposition Parties to enable them play their role i.e. Ghana,Senagal,Zambia, etc.

August 18, 2009

Lynne in Canada writes:

Communication Dialogue: Ask what is needed. Ask where is it needed, and how it should be delivered.

The people on the ground, providing services will help you. All you have to do is ask.

The traditional "western" hierarchy of seeking information is no longer working. Go beyond this to open real communication dialogue. Twitter, facebook, and other social networking mediums will provide information too. It IS a dialogue not just a broadcast.

good luck

Puerto Rico
August 18, 2009

Ilia in Puerto Rico writes:

American diplomacy is well known for: dialogue, mutual respect, understanding, freedom,equality,law,order,peace and unity with the common goal of democracy. I believe that is what good governance is all about: Face to face with reality.

There is a titanic struggle between good and evil, East and West, modern and archaic customs. For example, the resurgent influence of charimatic leaders and resistance movements in their reign of terror inculcate fear, thus changing the mentality of people with religious fundamentalism and retardation that Western democratic form of government is a blasfemy and not to be trusted. It creates an anti-American antagonism. The ideals of freedom are toppled. This quest seems to be unparalleled.

The human cost and sacrifice is too high. It drains finances and manpower. Therefore, the logic is not good. There should be other alternatives and strategy instead of military presence. With so much technological advances?

In my opinion, I am sure Unites States assurance and guarantees will be there for those countries that are committed and support Western policies and democracy in its fight against terrorism. So far Pakistan resolves.

United States is a proud nation and will never be defeated nor humiliated. It always has a sucessful conclusion.

New York, USA
August 19, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Current Toxic Formula in Afghanisatn

Karzai+Taliban+Opium Trade+fearful farmers and voters+terrorism+corruption+US $+ Warlords= Continued Conflict in Afghanistan+ More Instability in Pakistan+India+larger region.

Illinois, USA
August 19, 2009

Melvin in Illinois writes:

what diplomatic tools can be leveraged to promote good gove- rnance ? my answer free and fair elections and the rule of law

New Mexico, USA
August 20, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:





One nation.

With respect,

A "Golden Rule" exists, but it is seldom "leveraged" as incentive for good leadership.

As voluntary practice.

New York, USA
August 20, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Out of the Darkness.....

For diplomcacy to work, you must have responsible partners in diplomatic contracts. We now have many corrupt and despotic players in many regions around the world. Until they are removed from power, diplomacy will be fruitless. The alternative path is to fully support internal efforts to change those regimes. It is far better to make change at the top; than to wage endless wars in regions where terrorists are exploited as the surrogates of these regimes.

If we don't change our approach, we will continue to ensure the "re-election" of corrupt leaders and despotic regimes. Diplomacy requires honest principles and principals.

Tennessee, USA
August 21, 2009

Joe in Tennesse writes:


2. Maintain open dialogue, regardless of government in power.

3. Support of missionaries and other forms of independent support to the citizens.

4. Maintain support in all basic needs to new governments forming.

5. Integrity must be maintained.

6. Only Sanctions which will not be passed on to those less fortunate of the country. Sanctions can have the reverse effect as they will be viewed by the general populace as negative and provide propaganda by the controlling regime.

In Burma, we should have flown over and dropped the food regardless...they have four hundred thousand troops and four million hungry people or more... It's not rocket science....


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