Democracy in U.S. Security Strategy

  • From Promotion to Support
    Apr 1, 2009

    Democracy promotion in some form has been central to U.S. foreign policy since the country’s inception, yet recent setbacks require some reevaluation: What role, if any, should democracy have in U.S. security strategy and public diplomacy today? As reported here, extensive interviews with former national security advisers, senior diplomats and policymakers, strategic thinkers, and democracy experts, along with in-depth explorations of alternative strategies by Larry Diamond, Francis Fukuyama, and Michael McFaul, all enhanced by an elite, bipartisan advisory committee, have found the following:

    • The consolidation and spread of democracy remain a strategic U.S. interest.
    • More than Iraq, U.S. policy toward Egypt has shaped the U.S. strategic community’s views.
    • Charges of hypocrisy are inevitable but can be minimized.
    • U.S. public diplomacy should retain and clarify the nuances of “democracy” while replacing “promotion,” which has become synonymous with imposition, with “support.”

    These issues and the pillars of a “democracy support” strategy are examined in depth in this new report.

    Publisher CSIS
    ISBN 978-0-89206-567-7 (pb)