The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a most troublesome entity. It is funded nearly entirely by the US government, but as a non-government entity it is not at all answerable to the hand that feeds it (nor the pockets picked to provide the food). The relationship is mutually beneficial: the US government can task it with regime change overseas while keeping the appearance of clean hands; the NED has free reign to pursue its mission (regime change) with zero governmental oversight.
As one of the founders of the NED, Allan Weinstein, said, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
NED President Carl Gershman perfectly embodies why it is a bad idea for the US to keep an unaccountable entity dedicated to subversion and destabilization in the foreign policy stable. Though over decades he has spent many millions of US taxpayer dollars on regime change overseas, there has never been a regime change in the National Endowment for Democracy. Gershman, a former Trotskyite, has been president-for-life of that organization. He overthrows elected governments overseas, but has never been elected to any office himself.
Perpetually flush with cash and ever on the lookout for a regime to change, when one catches the eye of Carl Gershman, trouble is sure to follow.
That is why the Czech Republic had better watch out.
Yesterday, Gershman took to the Washington Post to sound the alarm over Czech President Milos Zeman. In a piece titled "Are Czechs giving up on moral responsibility?" Gershman warned that the Czech president has "strayed drastically" from the late Vaclav Havel's legacy. Havel, a saint of the US establishment, was, in his continued dedication to collectivism and the cult of "human rights," a marked contrast to his nemesis at the time, former Czech President and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, who championed individual liberty and post-communist national sovereignty.
What horrible crime has President Zeman committed to earn the wrath of Carl Gershman? At the NATO summit in September he had the gall to dispute neocon Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt's claim (without evidence) that Russia had invaded Ukraine.
He also had the temerity to assert the guilt of US-favorite anti-Putin oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and to rue that more criminal oligarchs in Russia had not been imprisoned. One might think that would earn him points with a US government that just read fellow former-Soviet bloc member Hungary the riot act over alleged corruption, but when the oligarch is "pro-West" the US tends to turn a blind eye to the rule of law.
All of that was bad, but what really irritated Gershman was that the Czech president recently affirmed to China that his country was open to increased commercial ties with Beijing and would not make "human rights" in China a prerequisite for improved trade ties. Gershman fumed over Prague's "policy of appeasing Vladimir Putin and putting economic relations with China above human rights."
But even this was not the worst. Tsar Gershman became apoplectic over the Czech foreign ministry's decision to stop funding regime change operations in Cuba, Belarus and China through its "TRANS" program. The program had until last month been part of the network of government-provided largesse to the likes of George Soros' "Transitions Online" publication, which closely tracks US foreign policy goals.
Gershman attacked Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák for rejecting what Drulák called the "false universalism" that seeks to “impose on others our idea of the ideal society.” And he fumed over Drulák's write-off of the cult of Havel as a bunch of "American neoconservatives" (like Havel-worshipping neoconservative Carl Gershman).
The truth hurts and Gershman is clearly upset with the Czech Republic. When Gershman gets upset, however, destabilization begins and soon gives way to full-out regime change operations.
Prague had better watch out. If Czech President Milos Zeman had any sense he would expel any operatives from the National Endowment for Democracy or its various US government-funded sub-organizations like the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute. These organizations are no doubt planning to undermine Czech democracy as we speak.