Security First

The Bush Administration’s focus on democracy overlooks the need for security.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2007

BOTH NEOCONSERVATIVES and liberals have overestimated the extent to which one nation, even a superpower with United Nations support, can re-engineer regimes. Neoconservatives believe forced democratization is possible; liberals believe in the transformative power of foreign aid, debt relief, trade concessions and support for reformers. The tragic reality is that both approaches to long-distance, large-scale social engineering have failed in most cases.

One cannot stop genocide without bringing home body bags (as the Dutch found in Srebrenica). Brutal international realities often require following a "second-worst" course to avoid the "first-worst" one-our choices are not always between the best and the second best. In short, ask not what international order you desire, but what international order you can achieve.

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