Missionary Work
Quangos: Democracy Activists or American Spies?
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  • Cunctator

    It is a real problem when quangos actually become an extension of US policy, as happened in the leadup to the Orange Revolution. A single incident (and the events in Kiev were not unprecedented), whatever the cause, stains the entire NGO community.

  • Ben Barber: Qaddafi stooge, all-around blowhard.

  • Kris

    “No matter how crappy it is, the country does not want to be treated like a basket-case.”

    TPLAC (Unfortunately does not have the later laugh-line.)

  • ebt

    “Quango” was originally an acronym for “quasi-autonomous national government organization”, denoting the kind of thing that in Canada we call a “Crown corporation”, which is created by the government and generally pursues ends determined by the government, but isn’t directly controlled by or actually part of the government and has some autonomy in its operations.

    Since “NGO” denotes a different thing, arguably the acronym “quango” ought not to be applied to it. On the other hand, an acronym exists to be used, and if you find it useful, go for it. The original sense may not be all that useful in the USA.

  • korby

    A few observations: Your two references to USAID create the impression that it is one of the ‘quangos’ you’re discussing. But it’s not–USAID is a federal agency. Alan Gross, according to Wikipedia, was working for the firm DAI on a USAID-funded contract when he was arrested. So he was not really “formerly of USAID,” any more than a Boeing employee could considered to be “of the Department of Defense.” The more important point is that in this case DAI, as a USAID contractor, would have been implementing a program designed and overseen by USAID (i.e., US Gov’t) personnel. In that sense, such organizations are indeed “direct tools of US foreign policy,” but when they are operating under contract to the US Government they have no latitude to advance any program or agenda but the one they are hired for. It is problematic that the US uses contractors to implement foreign policy, but since the State Department and USAID are not staffed to directly carry out all the programs Congress funds, it’s probably unavoidable.

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