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NATO's Center for Democratic Resilience

After Congress abandoned the Atlantic Union idea during the Reagan administration, democratic peace theory became the world order strategy of choice. In 1982, President Reagan reiterated America’s long-standing, freedom comes first agenda—“we must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings.” Reagan knew Atlantic federalism was a bridge too far, but he loved Clarence K. Streit’s ripening approach to advancing economic freedom and democracy.


After the U.S. Congress established the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) were formed in 1983 to spread economic freedom and democracy worldwide. The NED provided funding for nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to do the work. Republican-led NGOs naturally placed their emphasis on advancing economic freedom and Democrat-led NGOs placed theirs on advancing personal and political freedom. In his farewell address in 1989, Reagan stressed the importance of the Republican approach—“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”


Republican-led NGOs, such as The Heritage Foundation, suggest economic freedom has four broad categories: 1) Rule of Law, 2) Government Size, 3) Regulatory Inefficiency; and 4) Open Markets. To be considered economically free, nations had to embrace trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. Nations that protect their markets and refuse to engage in free trade run afoul of U.S. national interests. After the Soviet Union collapsed, economic freedom and democracy spread like wildfire. Transitioning democracies energetically pursued political and economic reforms. Streit’s ripening approach to advancing individual freedom proved a major post-Cold War success.


Globalization, however, took a dark turn after Reagan normalized trade relations with China. It opened the door to the evolution of servant capitalism and trade once multinational corporations (MNCs) discovered they could circumvent national wage, labor, and environmental laws by outsourcing production to Communist China and other developing nations. Big box retailers learned to crush domestic competition by selling goods made by servants of the Chinese Communist Party and Eastern oligarchs. Today, the world economic order resembles George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Western globalists and Eastern oligarchs are more equal than others.


Globalization plunged into darkness after President Bill Clinton refocused American foreign policy away from advancing personal, political, and economic freedom toward promoting democratic socialism. Rather than leading with economic freedom, progressives advanced centralized economic planning and intervention in the market on a global level to achieve their personal. political, and socioeconomic agendas. Clinton then enlarged NATO at the expense of Russia to impose Western ideology and economic interests in Central and Eastern Europe.


Toward the end of the Obama administration, populism emerged throughout the Western world because economic freedom was in decline. Free trade with unfree peoples ruined millions of lives throughout the free world. The beneficiaries of globalization, often referred to as the one percent, became alarmed that people they deemed deplorable questioned their legitimacy after the myth of smart people was exposed as a giant Ponzi scheme.[1]


Progressives initially blamed Russian interference for Hillary’s presidential election disaster in 2016. They alleged Russians posted ads on Facebook. The FBI then set up stings to destroy members of Trump’s cabinet. Political hacks within the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities knowingly tried to convince members of Trump’s cabinet to remove him under the 25th Amendment. Then the FBI investigated a phony dossier paid for by Hillary’s campaign alleging Donald Trump was a puppet of Vladimir Putin and colluded with the Russians to win the election. Trump was untouchable.


When their coup failed, progressives developed democratic resilience to explain and sustain their post-War gains. A few progressive professors at Cornell University set up the American Democracy Collaborative in 2017 and advanced the study of Democratic Resilience based on the following introduction—


We are a group of scholars of American political development and comparative politics who have come together to examine the state of democracy in the United States today. Political scientists have been concerned for some time about trends that weaken American democracy, including rising economic inequality, growing polarization, resurgent racism or nativism, and escalating executive power. Few worried seriously, however, about the prospect of severe deterioration of democracy, never mind regime change, until the historic 2016 election, and the ascendance of a candidate –and now president—who openly violates democratic norms. More disturbing, these developments have brought into bold relief a confluence of threats to American democracy that will likely persist well beyond the current presidency. We convened our group early in 2017, aiming to integrate insights from previous crises in American political history with understanding of the conditions that have threatened democracies around the world. We aim to foster discussion and writing around these topics and to provide materials that are useful for teachers, journalists, and citizens. No other up-and-running working group on the present crisis of American politics combines these disciplinary perspectives–as focused equally on historical experience at home and the comparative experience from abroad.[2]


Because it is an applied political science, the study and advocacy of democratic resilience (DR) represents a clear and present danger to the citizens of the United States—and peoples of the world. For example, DR-inspired ruling class elites used it to justify indirect/direct action to prevent Trump from walking back their progressive policies. Progressives impeached Trump for exposing the nefarious activities of the Biden family in Ukraine after the Euromaidan affair. Progressive activists (Antifa/BLM) fomented race-based riots to intimidate people on the right. Progressive weaponized Federal and state law enforcement agencies to target the Trump administration. Facing an economic boom practically guaranteeing another four years for Trump, federal agencies and progressive states exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to destroy Trump’s economy and change voting rules. The mainstream media engaged in anti-Trump and anti-Russian propaganda and censorship. It worked. Progressive operatives proved their resilience—once again. It was nothing less than a color revolution on American soil.


Progressive globalists (globalists) were rattled by Brexit and other populist movements in the European theater. Autocracy was allegedly on the rise, and Eastern European countries were resisting the LGBTQIA agenda. Once Joe Biden came into power, globalists rolled back Trump’s populist and America First policies and reset globalist priorities. Progressive federal agencies and NGOs like the USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, Center for American Progress, National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute advanced democratic resilience. For example, USAID believes that “inclusive democratic government and human rights are foundational to economic, social, and political opportunity, which includes access to economic opportunity, improved environmental protection, education, and health, and engagement in all of a society.”[3]


The efforts to advance democratic resilience likely influenced Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. Putin already was tracking NATO’s 2008 decision at its Bucharest Summit to encourage Ukraine and Georgia to prepare for NATO membership. In September of 2019, a DemDigest article explained “How to cultivate democratic resilience.”[4] The Center for American Progress made it clear that “Democracies around the world are combating Russian election interference.” At the behest of these progressive NGOs, Representative Gerald E. Connally (D. VA) took democratic resilience to the transatlantic level. As President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), he called for the creation of a Center within NATO to promote democratic resilience, that is, to identify and take indirect/direct action to defend and extend democracy throughout the greater Atlantic area. The NATO PA endorsed his recommendation.


In December of 2021, Representative Connally introduced H. Res. 831 - Calling on the United States Government to uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A month or so later, Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Congress responded by passing H. Res. 831 calling for the establishment of a Center for Democratic Resilience (CDR) within NATO for the purposes of monitoring and identifying challenges to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law and facilitating democracy and governance assistance to member, partner, and aspirant states, when requested.


Based on how progressives used the CIA, the FBI, and other federal agencies during the Trump years, NATO’s CDR will likely coordinate color revolutions to promote progressive policies unrecognizable to freedom-loving peoples. It could also be used to forge transatlantic consensus for the establishment of an Atlantic Union, federal or otherwise.

[1] https://stocktrendsreport.com/the-u-s-economy-and-the-ponzi-scheme/#:~:text=Federal%20Reserve%20critic%2C%20John%20Hussman%2C%20views%20the%20United,percent%20rate%20consistent%20over%20the%20previous%20five%20decades. [2] https://americandemocracycollaborative.org/dialogue/democratic-resilience/ [3] https://www.usaid.gov/indonesia/democracy-human-rights-and-governance [4] https://www.demdigest.org/how-to-cultivate-democratic-resilience/

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