For the first time in 25 years, the International Republican Institute will have a new leader. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer, has decided to step down from his role as chairman of the board of the organization, which for decades he has helped to fight for democracy, freedom, civil society, the rule of law and human rights around the world, The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin writes:
IRI is part of a network of American organizations that promote democracy and other Western values abroad through election monitoring, civil society development and working with local governments and political parties. IRI is partially funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and often works in conjunction with its counterpart, the National Democratic Institute.
Despite what is widely seen as a rollback of democracy, rule of law and human rights around the world, the American people still largely support the effort. A June poll released by the George W. Bush Institute, Freedom House and the Penn-Biden Center showed 71 of respondents favor the U.S. government taking steps to support democracy and human rights in other countries.
McCain “has always understood that the fate of democracy in our land is tied to the fate of democracy in other lands, and that democracies make the best partners in safeguarding peace,” said IRI President Dan Twining. “In this more competitive world, America’s support for human freedom gives our country a competitive advantage authoritarian rivals cannot offer.”