wp100 - Wil Hout Institute of Social Studies, The...

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Wil Hout Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands Good Governance and the Political Economy of Selectivity Working Paper No. 100 January 2004 The views presented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Asia Research Centre or Murdoch University. © Copyright is held by the author(s) of each working paper: No part of this publication may be republished, reprinted or reproduced in any form without the permission of the paper’s author(s). National Library of Australia. ISBN: 0-86905-844 4 ISSN: 1037-4612
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The attention of most Western policy-makers to the nature of political regimes in the developing countries is of relatively recent origin. For many policy-makers, the end of the Cold War was a watershed between negligence of and renewed attention for non-Western political systems. Part of the pre-Cold War lack of concern was attributable to the seemingly rigid power relations during the Cold War, while part of it was a function of political manipulation. On the one hand, many Western politicians turned a blind eye to the political repression and violation of basic political rights and civil liberties in the countries that belonged to the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. For instance, ‘dissident’ movements, such as Czechoslovak Charta 77 and Polish Solidarnos ć , received attention from few Western politicians during the period of Soviet dominance of Central and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the attitude of many Western politicians toward developing countries was coloured by the position that these countries occupied in the bipolar world of the Cold War era. Statements such as ‘He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a- bitch’ and ‘The enemy of our enemy is our friend’, although both much older than the Cold War, can be cited as credos in the foreign policies of both superpowers and their allies. Concerns related to the maintenance of the two opposite Cold War alliances explain the long- term affiliation of the West to Mobutu’s Zaire, and the superpowers’ shift of allegiance between Menghistu’s Ethiopia and Siad Barre’s Somalia in 1977 without any concern for these countries’ internal politics. With the ending of the political dichotomy in world politics around 1990, the attention to the nature of the political regimes in developing countries has clearly gained momentum. Along with the emphasis on market-oriented policies, which had been the dominant trend in economic policies suggested to the developing countries after the Reagan-Thatcher ‘revolution’ of the early 1980s, the attention to the principles of governance of developing countries achieved prominence. ‘Good governance’, as it was called after the publication of a World Bank report on Africa (World Bank 1989) became an important objective in the policies of many aid-giving Western countries and the main international financial institutions, such as the World Bank. 1
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wp100 - Wil Hout Institute of Social Studies, The...

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