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African Social Science Review

Abstract

Since the emergence of the United States as a major global power, it has claimed to be the “leader of the free world” and the “champion of democracy.” During the Cold War, the pro-democracy rhetoric was a major staple on the United States‟ foreign policy menu. For example, the U.S. claimed that its support for democracy and the former Soviet Union‟s endorsement of authoritarianism was the main distinguishing feature between the ideological-political systems of the two superpowers. Thereafter, each succeeding American administration recited the pro-democracy rhetoric, which was elevated to new heights during President George W. Bush‟s second term. In his Second Inaugural Address, Bush declared the pursuance of a “freedom agenda” as a major cornerstone of American foreign policy. Using four allied African states of the United States—Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda—and an adversarial state—Zimbabwe—as case studies, this article examines the relationship between the rhetoric of “democracy promotion” through the holding of free and fair elections and praxis. In other words, how did the Bush administration respond to fraudulent elections in its allied and adversarial states, against the backdrop of its policy rhetoric through the promotion of democracy globally?

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