Should Democratization Continue to be an American Foreign Policy Goal?

Rebecca Theodore

Rebecca Theodore

Release Date

Thursday, April 11, 2013


While the ebbing of the Cold War continues to validate democracy as one of the key rudiments of American foreign policy agenda, current thinking and international debates are beginning to sketch a gloomy picture.

Despite the zeal of academia to manufacture a conceptual explanation for the liberalization, transition and consolidation phases of democracy; it now seems evident that the promotion of democracy is no longer a principal objective of American foreign policy goals.

In all truism, the spread of democracy as a foreign policy goal has helped to contribute to international peace and advanced the union of a common humanity' in the world at large. At once, we begin to notice the gradual defeat of the social Darwin Malthus paradigm as analyst create models whereby population growth propels technological changes that greatly advances U.S. and global interests.

However, on the other side of the dubious coin, it still remains unclear about the ways in which the United States is supposed to shepherd its moral and material resources to stimulate global peace when there is a deterioration of its own economic and national security.

In this witness, the bigotry of many self-centered policy makers in Washington who have chosen to act as custodians of elite privileges and construe the promotion of democracy in the dialect of corporate designs now yield a new attention.

And it is in these grounds that the seeds of discontent are sown.

Hence, President Obama should not keep distancing himself from Washington's democracy promotion legacy, because in all due fairness, it was in part, the consolidation of democracy in Italy, Germany and Japan after World War II that made the United States a safe sanctuary.

But the inflated arguments of critics demand clarification.

It then becomes important to note, that it was the former George W. Bush's administration that inhumanely scarred the promotion of democracy as a foreign policy goal with the U.S. led invasion of Iraq and the war on terror'.

It was the Bush Doctrine' that brought about the sudden interruption of democracy through its legal abuses of human rights, thereby giving autocracies in the Middle East the strength to birth rebellious factions like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, all hostile to U.S. interests.

Although Freedom's House executive director affirms that to see democracy promotion as particularly Republican or Bush policy is to misunderstand our country's foreign policy, international expert on democratization and U.S. foreign policy, Thomas Carothers also makes it clear that the promotion of democracy around the globe is a matter of bi-partisan agreement.

In this regards, the socio-political divisions existing in Washington and the blatant disrespect of laws deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court by cronies using Washington as a pulpit to endorse their presidential ambitions and menacing the workings of a duly elected federal government are certainly not ways to promote liberty to others. The partisan, strident slant of public debates castigated in ideology and influenced solely by fund raising rather than by the will of the people' are definitely not the desired tenets for democracy to be considered a foreign policy goal.

Elaborating further, the recent Washington shut-down and the demagoguery of its representatives have sent severe repercussions around the world and polluted America's political credibility on the international stage.

Of course, even the Greeks battled with the proposition of rule by the people' but the grave and dented repute of America abroad should now seek to implement new factors like climate change, or finding ways to eradicate terrorist cells' as more important means to foreign policy goals than democratization.

Maybe Huntington was right in his assumption that democracy is the solution to the problem of tyranny but not necessarily to anything else. Representative democracy in America now stands disloyal to its own standards and principles and portrays a pessimistic effect on the economy, the well -being of its own institution and its status in the world.

In line with this, Carothers further advocates that the issue of democracy is no longer a focal point in American foreign policy agenda. Indeed, it is offensively unjust for the United States to turn a blind eye to the genocide and political persecution of others and do nothing about it.

Yet, on the other hand, if the American political system fails to address major issues like the perils of Guantanamo, a disastrous and deadly drone targeting policy, a petulant government in Washington and the high levels of mistrust about democracy promotion in the Middle East,-

How then can America continue to herald the refrains of democratic peace to a global audience?

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Rebecca Theodore is an op-ed columnist based in Washington, DC. She writes on national security and political issues. Follow her on twitter @rebethd or email at

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