As a member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), an international organization dedicated to bringing psychology to the service of peace and social justice, I am most concerned about the recent suggestions to “zero-out” the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and cut State Department Funds. These agencies are on the front lines of providing for our national security through their efforts through negotiations to promote the interests of the United States of America, manage conflict non-violently, watch for future threats, and build more peaceful and open societies that will be good for democracy, economic development, and the well-being of their peoples.
In PsySR’s recent message on supporting democratic change in the Middle East (February 1, 2011), the organization noted that:
“From events like these [in Egypt] – driven by the collective power and pent up frustrations of a long-suffering citizenry – emerge outcomes that are often tenuous and unexpected. Sudden change brings with it both opportunities and dangers. Popular revolts can lead to more just and democratic societies. However, history shows that the dethroning of tyrants does not guarantee a quick transformation to democratic rule, and sometimes instead sets the stage for new autocracies. Lasting democratic progress depends upon continued broad participation, and the relationships and structures that encourage it.” [emphasis added].