Negotiating Interference: U.S. Democracy Promotion, Bolivia, and the Tale of a Failed Agreement
This chapter applies the conception of democracy promotion as an interactive process that is crucially affected by conflicts over conceptions of justice to the relations between the US and Bolivia. Since 2009, the USA and the Bolivian government have been trying to fix their broken diplomatic relations. These negotiations culminated in 2011 in the signing of a bilateral agreement but, ultimately, failed to establish a basis for mutually acceptable development aid relations. The chapter analyzes these negotiations and suggests a partial explanation that accounts for their dynamics and results. Specifically it shows how the negotiations have pitted Bolivian demands for state sovereignty and mutual respect, based on an egalitarian understanding of inter-state relations, against the US emphasis on common obligations and universal rights, informed by a non-egalitarian notion of liberal hegemony. The failure to balance or reconcile these conflicting notions helps to explain why the negotiations were so difficult and eventually failed to produce a viable outcome.
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