Democracy and Human Rights: The Case for U.S. Leadership, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, First Session, February 16, 2017   [open pdf - 1MB]

This testimony compilation is from the February 16, 2017 hearing on "Democracy and Human Rights: The Case for U.S. Leadership" before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crimes, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues of the Committee on Foreign Relations. From the testimony of Carl Gershman: "Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this very timely and important hearing on the importance of U.S. leadership in supporting human rights and democracy in the world. As we know too well, democracy today is being challenged as never before since the end of the Cold War. The crisis has many dimensions, including the rise of ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and other terrorist movements; growing illiberalism in Turkey, Hungary, the Philippines and other backsliding democracies; eleven consecutive years of decline in global democracy, as measured by Freedom House; and,most importantly, what the letter of invitation to this hearing calls 'resurgent authoritarianism.' An editorial in 'The Washington Post' last June defined resurgent authoritarianism as a modernday version of the totalitarian threat that Winston Churchill decried in his famous 'iron curtain' address in 1946. 'No longer is it about communism,' the editorial said, 'but rather the rise of despots who rule by force and coercion, from Russia to China, across the Middle East and Central Asia, to Latin America and Africa. In the past decade, these leaders have become more adept -- and daring -- at building a parallel universe to the liberal democratic order. In their construct, state power reigns supreme, political competition is extinguished, civil society elbowed out, and freedoms of expression, association and belief suppressed. Surprisingly, some of these leaders, particularly in Russia and China, have been wielding a sophisticated and deceptive soft power beyond their borders that is proving more enduring and effective than in the past.'" Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Carl Gershman, Mark Green, Kenneth Wollack, Garry Kasparov, Halah Eldoseri, and Danilo "El Sexto" Maldonado Machado.

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