Robie Marcus Hooker "Mark" Palmer (1941 – 28 January 2013) was a United States diplomat, who served as United States Ambassador to Hungary (1986–90). He was a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Committee on the Present Danger, Vice Chairman of Freedom House and the Council for a Community of Democracies. He was also the co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy.
Palmer served in policy positions in the United States State Department in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush administrations, including launching the National Endowment for Democracy. From the outside, he has worked with both the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations, helping persuade them to initiate new democracy policies, including the Community of Democracies and abolishing the so-called "Arab exception", for the first time promoting democracy in the Arab world.
Palmer was possessed of practical experience inside dictatorships, working directly with dictators, and helping to oust them without a shot being fired. He lived for 11 years in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Hungary under the communists as a student and diplomat. He organized and participated in the first Reagan-Gorbachev summit as the State Department's top "Kremlinologist," and as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary helped persuade its last dictator to leave power. He was active on China and the Middle East, for example, as the founding board member of an organization to support the largest movement for change in China, and working to support the emergence of politically independent commercial television stations throughout the Arab world.
From his days in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, through demonstrating in the streets of Budapest as ambassador, to marching with the students in Belgrade against Slobodan Milosevic in 1996, Palmer witnessed and practiced the power of organized nonviolent force in achieving freedom and justice.
Palmer became a venture capitalist and investor in 1990, and president of his own company. He believed in the potential of business as a force in the transition to democracy. He co-founded Central European Media Enterprises, which financed and launched the first national independent television stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Ukraine with more than $600 million in investment.
A recognized writer and advocate, Palmer has written speeches for six Secretaries of State and three Presidents, including as principal speechwriter for Henry Kissinger and co-author of Ronald Reagan's favorite speech, and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Freedom House, a frequent contributor to published appeals and policy statements, and participant in democracy programs in the United States and across the arc of dictatorships stretching from China, through the Middle East and Africa, on to Belarus and Cuba.
Palmer's 2003 book, Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025, argued for a revamping of American foreign policy to make the worldwide promotion of democracy its foremost goal.
- "Meghalt Mark Palmer" (in Hungarian). Index.hu. January 29, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Mark Palmer, member of the Committee on the Present Danger
- GroupWatch: Committee on the Present Danger
- The Resurrection of Committee on the Present Danger
- The Present Danger, by Justin Raimondo
- They’re Back: Neocons Revive the CPD, by Jim Lobe