Democracy and American grand strategy in Asia: The realist principles behind an enduring idealism
Has democracy promotion been discredited as a central theme of American foreign policy after the US experience in Iraq? Many American critics and friends overseas appear to believe so. It would be wrong, however, to believe that the ideational approach of American foreign policy will diminish, particularly in Asia. First, there is not in fact a tension between the United States' material power and its ideals as a democracy. Second, post-Bush leaders identify and embrace the promotion of bilateral and multilateral cooperation among Asia-Pacific democracies as central to the United States' regional strategy. Third, and most important, democracy promotion and security cooperation among like-minded democracies will remain a central objective of American foreign policy in Asia because those elements magnify American power and facilitate US goals. In short, the ideational balance of power in Asia directly affects the material balance of power. This article examines these trends in American policy in Asia, the outlook for greater strategic and diplomatic cooperation among regional democracies, and the implications for the region, including China and ASEAN, of a US democracy-based approach to Asia policy.
This article was written by Michael J. Green and Daniel Twining. Michael J. Green is Senior Advisor and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Associate Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University. At the time of writing, Daniel Twining was the Fulbright/Oxford Scholar at Oxford University and a Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
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