The National Endowment for Democracy

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created by the Reagan administration in the early 1980s to push democratic reform and roll back Soviet influence in various parts of the globe. In his 1983 speech inaugurating NED, President Ronald Reagan said: "I just decided that this nation, with its heritage of Yankee traders, ought to do a little selling of the principles of democracy."

The private, congressionally funded NED has been a controversial tool in U.S. foreign policy because of its support for groups that push an agenda closely in line with U.S. objectives and because of its association with efforts to overthrow foreign governments.

"The National Endowment for Democracy is a quasi-governmental foundation created by the Reagan Administration in 1983 to channel millions of Federal dollars into anti-Communist 'private diplomacy.'"

On its website, NED notes the criticism but responds that "over the years mainstream conservative activists have been among the most outspoken advocates on behalf of the Endowment. Endorsements of NED have been offered by the leadership of such stalwart conservative organizations as the Heritage Foundation and Empower America, and favorable editorials have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and National Review."

Current and former directors of the Endowment's Board include Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission, former Congressman Richard Gephardt, Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Frank Carlucci of the Carlyle Group, retired General Wesley Clark, Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Dr. Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins SAIS, and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Several articles about the political process in Haiti, Iraq, and the Palestinian-occupied territories have appeared in The New York Times, NPR, and other mainstream US media. The impression is given that the articles are from bona fide journalists, but it transpires that several of them are paid by the NED or its affilated organizations.


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