Advancing democracy is not the same as regime change, says a leading practitioner.
“We have said over and over again that what this is all about is not changing a regime,” said National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman (left). “It is about building democratic capacity and culture at the grassroots so that countries have the capacity, if there is a democratic opening, not to see that opening closed by another autocratic regime so that they can engage in a stable democratic transition,” he told The News Lens International.
“The whole idea that this work is about regime change shows a failure to understand what it’s all about. Our interest is not in that,” he added. “Our interest is in strengthening democratic capacity and culture so that people have the tools to govern themselves democratically. And it’s a long-term process.”