Books – US Foreign Policy: Ideals and Interests

American Democracy Promotion: Impulses, Strategies, and Impacts, Edited by Michael Cox, G. John Ikenberry and Takashi Inoguchi,Published by Oxford University Press

The World Today
2 minute READ

John Dumbrell

American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War has moved, sometimes simultaneously, in two, somewhat contradictory directions: on the one hand, towards an international policy of unilateralism and ‘interests’; on the other, towards espousing democracy promotion and multilateralism.

The Clinton Administration attempted to square this circle by arguing that democracy promotion was not a ‘starry-eyed crusade’; rather, conceived in pragmatic terms, it was a way to enhance both American security and American prosperity. Relevant here was the Administration’s identification of democracy with markets and its embrace of the Kantian ideal of the democratic peace – where democracies choose not to fight one another. In the Presidential election of 2000, voters were given a fairly clear choice between the rhetoric of multilateralist democracy promotion – Gore – and that of interests-based Americanism – Bush.

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