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September 24, 2014

Obama Pledges U.S. Support for Civic Movements Abroad

President Obama outlined plans Tuesday for government agencies to take a stronger role in bolstering "civil society" in countries where autocratic regimes are cracking down on nonprofits and grass-roots citizen action, The Wall Street Journal writes. Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, the president criticized regimes in Russia, Venezuela, and elsewhere that he said are "vilifying legitimate dissent as subversive."

Mr. Obama framed the effort as a matter of national interest, saying nations that restrict human rights and free expression foster "a sense of injustice that over time can fuel instability or extremism." The White House said a presidential memorandum would instruct federal agencies to build more alliances with overseas charities and community groups and ensure that foreign governments do not "dictate the nature of U.S. assistance to civil society."