Magazine April 20, 2009, Issue

A Good Plan in Africa

Kenyans line up at a polling station in Kibera, Africa, November 21, 2005. (Radu Sigheti/Reuters)
Facing the realities of tribalism

Nairobi, Kenya

Democracy promotion is and probably always will be America’s default foreign policy, embarked upon when no other controlling interests prevail. This is so for two reasons: one philosophical, the fact that the only just government is one accountable to its people; and one practical, the fact that democracy is believed to work better than other systems. Since Tocqueville, the conventional wisdom has held that democracy, notwithstanding a few hiccups, yields fruits in the form of political stability and economic prosperity.

In 2002, Kenya shone like a beacon of this precept. Western diplomats had badgered Kenya’s government into holding free elections

Travis Kavulla is director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the R Street Institute. He is a former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners who held elected office as a Montana public service commissioner for eight years. Before that, he was an associate editor for National Review.

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