During the Bush years, the American preoccupation with promoting democracy around the world was perceived as cowboy idealism and impulse, oblivious to or ignorant of how international politics supposedly operated. True international ploitics was preached by President Wilson who based his liberal foreign policy on before and after World War I. It was not the fear of promoting democracy, but the fear of the idea of exceptional-ism of America. In actuality, Wilson wanted the same end result as Bush.
The American promotion of democracy abroad by President Bush actually reflects a pragmatic and sophisticated understanding of how to create a stable and peaceful world order. It amounts to what might be called an American grand strategy based on the very realistic view that the political character of other states has an enormous impact on the ability of the United States to ensure its security and economic interests. They are shared liberal views that correlate on peaceful coexistence between freely elected democracies. This view is incompatible with autocracies and theocracies that exist in the majority of Muslim nations.
The American preoccupation with promoting democracy abroad also fits into a larger liberal view about the sources of a stable, legitimate, secure, and prosperous international order.This strategy is built around a set of claims and assumptions about how democratic politics, economic interdependence, international institutions, and political identity encourage a stable political order.
Barack Obama is the first American President to assemble a foreign policy team made up entirely of academics who have developed an anti liberal policy ( review Obama's base plans developed by his deputy secretary of state James B. Steinberg). Obama's team is the first team to pursue foreign policy in concert and agreement with other foreign powers, thereby subjecting the United States to ' just another nation' status. This policy is now being tested in the Arab states and it has proved to be unmanageable and a disaster in Libya.
Libya's rebel leaders, working to secure a freely elected democracy for the people of Libya are now as confused as the Shiite's were when America suddenly dropped support after President Bush I's absence of a liberal promotion of democracy after winning the battle of Iraq and losing the war for the cooperation of the majority of the people of Iraq.
In the absence of American leadership, no one is stepping up to promote democracy, becsude they fear the absence of American support for a freely elected democracy that has always been present in the past. By the time Khadafy excercises his power in the absence of any congruent foreign policy, the Libyan people will have been slaughtered, the liberal concept of free democracies wounded and the full trust and credit of prior American policy torn apart with little hope for continued democratization of the world.
The liberal mind is dead, long live the liberal mind!