mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Quango Wars Escalate

Last weekend we predicted a sea of trouble for the democracy quangos—quasi-NGOs that support democracy in foreign countries and receive a significant portion of their funding from the federal government. Understandably, many foreign governments, particularly those not favorably disposed to American-style democracy, have taken umbrage at these groups’ close ties with domestic opposition, characterizing them as foreign interference in domestic politics.

The war on quangos seems to be escalating. After shutting down local offices of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) late last week, the government of the United Arab Emirates has gone a step further, detaining NDI staff attempting to leave the country and threatening to file criminal charges for “interference in political affairs.” This comes on the heels of the Egyptian government’s arrest and indictment of a number of NDI Egypt workers—along with many other quango employees active in the country.

There’s a good chance other countries beyond Egypt and the UAE will join the growing war on quangos. These groups are extremely unpopular with the leaderships of many countries, from Russia to Venezuela to Nigeria. When other leaders see what Egypt and the UAE have done, they may be tempted to follow suit. The world is becoming less welcoming for quango employees.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Neville

    Even in quite ‘downmarket’ areas, currently featuring empty storefronts and nail/tattoo parlors, it’s amazing how prosperous the veterinary hospitals look.

    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that for many people pets are partial replacements for the families they don’t have/don’t feel they can afford/have outlived. As a trend this seems unlikely to reverse any time soon.

    The connection to your ‘war on the young’ and ‘demographic contraction’ themes is obvious.

  • Neville

    Oops: intended as a comment on the preceding post!

  • Tom Richards

    Let me be clear: I don’t work for an intelligence agency, and so far as I know, I don’t know anyone who does. What I am engaging in here is uninformed speculation.

    But my uninformed speculation is that Western intelligence agencies almost certainly do place agents inside organizations of this sort (and indeed true NGOs). I would, if I was them. It’s simply a much more convincing cover than a bogus embassy job.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service