In Defense of Democratic RealismIssue: Fall 2004
On February 10, 2004, I delivered the Irving Kristol Lecture to the American Enterprise Institute outlining a theory of foreign policy that I called democratic realism. It was premised on the notion that the 1990s were a holiday from history, an illusory period during which we imagined that the existential struggles of the past six decades against the various totalitarianisms had ended for good. September 11 reminded us rudely that history had not ended, and we found ourselves in a new existential struggle, this time with an enemy even more fanatical, fatalistic and indeed undeterable than in the past. Nonetheless, we had one factor in our favor. With the passing of the Soviet Union, we had entered a unique period in human history, a unipolar era in which America enjoys a predominance of power greater than any that has existed in the half-millennium of the modern state system.