Wilson Quarterly looks at "the democracy industry" built on the American ideological commitment to advancing the democratic cause in the world. The report questions the practice of international corps of observers certifying election results in foreign lands, and finds that "outsiders sometimes do more harm than good." The author points to the example of the 1998 elections in Cambodia where the government denied opposition parties access to radio and television, and marred the election with violence. The story reveals that some foreign observers "failed to report these problems or blithely dismissed all signs of trouble." It also looks at "a subtler form of damage" that the democracy industry did in Indonesia in 1998 by stealing "the spotlight from local groups."
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