Hegemony & Leadership Toolbox



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--Democracy promotion is key to US leadership

Lennon 09 Editor in Chief, The Washington Quarterly and Senior Fellow @ CSIS, International Security Program,

Alexander, March, “view on democracy promotion from the strategic community”, http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/090310_lennon_democracy_web.pdf

Finally, a third strategic reason expressed in interviews is that having the United States seek to spread democracy helps it be, and be perceived as, a benevolent global power or leader. A few simply cited "values,” a "moral" interest in spreading democracy for others, or altruistically that democracy "comes the closest to fulfilling the aspirations of the people who are being governedf"5 But the principal strategic argument, as one former senior policymaker elaborated, is that "for the United States, our credibility as a world leader depends to some extent on the values that we bring to our world leadership. And being identified as on the side of those people that share those [values] is central to our basic engagement in the international system and who we are as a people.”

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--Democracy promotion ensures global conflict and crushes US hegemony

Layne, 94 Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute,

Christopher, Fall 1994, International Security, “Kant or Cant,” p. 46-49



Those who want to base American foreign policy on the extension of democracy abroad invariably disclaim any intention to embark on a “crusade,” and profess to recognize the dangers of allowing policy to be based on excessive ideological zeal.’ These reassurances are the foreign-policy version of “trust me.” Because it links American security to the nature of other states’ internal political systems, democratic peace theory’s logic inevitably pushes the United States to adopt an interventionist strategic posture. If democracies are peaceful but non-democratic states are “troublemakers” the conclusion is inescapable: the former will be truly secure only when the latter have been transformed into democracies, too. Indeed, American statesmen have frequently expressed this view. During World War I, Elihu Root said that, “To be safe democracy must kill its enemy when it can and where it can. The world cannot be half democratic and half autocratic.”’43 During the Vietnam War, Secretary of State Dean Rusk claimed that the “United States cannot be secure until the total international environment is ideologically safe.” These are not isolated comments; these views reflect the historic American propensity to seek absolute security and to define security primarily in ideological (and economic) terms. The political culture of American foreign policy has long regarded the United States, because of its domestic political system, as a singular nation. As a consequence, American policymakers have been affected by a “deep sense of being alone” and they have regarded the United States as “perpetually beleaguered.”’ Consequently, America’s foreign and defense policies have been shaped by the belief that the United States must create a favorable ideological climate abroad if its domestic institutions are to survive and flourish.’45 Democratic peace theory panders to impulses which, however noble in the abstract, have led to disastrous military interventions abroad, strategic overextension, and the relative decline of American power. The latest example of the dangers of Wilsonianism is the Clinton administration’s Partnership for Peace. Under this plan, the asserted American interest in projecting democracy into East Central Europe is advanced in support of NATO security guarantees and eventual membership for Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic (and some form of U.S. security guarantee for Ukraine). The underlying argument is simple: democratic governments in these countries will guarantee regional peace in the post—Cold War era, but democracy cannot take root unless these countries are provided with the “reassurance” of U.S. or NATO security guarantees. In fact, however, East Central Europe is bound to be a highly volatile region regardless of whether NATO “moves east.” The extension of NATO guarantees eastward carries with it the obvious risk that the United States will become embroiled in a future regional conflict, which could involve major powers such as Germany, Ukraine, or Russia. There is little wisdom in assuming such potentially risky undertakings on the basis of dubious assumptions about the pacifying effects of democracy.’” Democratic peace theory is dangerous in another respect, as well: it is an integral component of a new (or more correctly, recycled) outlook on international politics. It is now widely believed that the spread of democracy and economic interdependence have effected a “qualitative change” in international politics, and that war and serious security competitions between or among democratic great powers are now impossible.147 There is therefore, it is said, no need to worry about future great power challenges from states like Japan and Germany, or to worry about the relative distribution of power between the United States and those states, unless Japan or Germany were to slide back into authoritarianism.’48 The reason the United States need not be concerned with the great-power emergence of Japan and Germany is said to be simple: they are democracies and democracies do not fight democracies. Modern-day proponents of a liberal theory of international politics have constructed an appealing vision of perpetual peace within a zone of democracy and prosperity. But this “zone of peace” is a peace of illusions. There is no evidence that democracy at the unit level negates the structural effects of anarchy at the level of the international political system. Similarly, there is no evidence that supports the sister theory: that economic interdependence leads to peace. Both ideas have been around for a long time. The fact that they are so widely accepted as a basis for international relations theory shows that for some scholars, “theories” are confirmed by the number of real-world tests that they fail. Proponents of liberal international relations theory may contend, as Russett does, that liberal approaches to international politics have not failed, but rather that they have not been tried.’49 But this is what disappointed adherents of ideological worldviews always say when belief is overcome by reality. If American policymakers allow themselves to be mesmerized by democratic peace theory’s seductive—but false—vision of the future, the United States will be ill prepared to formulate a grand strategy that will advance its interests in the emerging world of multipolar great power competition. Indeed, as long as the Wilsonian worldview underpins American foreign policy, policymakers will be blind to the need to have such a grand strategy, because the liberal theory of international politics defines out of existence (except with respect to non-democracies) the very phenomena that are at the core of strategy: war, the formation of power balances, and concerns about the relative distribution of power among the great powers. But in the end, as its most articulate proponents admit, liberal international relations theory is based on hope, not on fact.’~ In the final analysis, the world remains what it always has been: international politics continues to occur in an anarchic, competitive, self-help realm. This reality must be confronted, because it cannot be transcended.

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