Sporadically, chaotically, at times violently, the inexorable force of democratic hegemony is reshaping the world. Long gone is the East-West divide.
In the wake of communism's collapse, no array of closed societies or illiberal ideologies can seriously challenge the predominance of democratic states and liberal ideas. As a result, democracies are free to project their influence and values through diplomatic, military, economic, technological and cultural power. Increasingly, global affairs are shaped by the hegemony of democratic ideas and values, the acceptance of which has grown dramatically around the globe. Through "hard" and "soft" power, the world's cohort of democratic states aids indigenous democratic movements in toppling tyrannies, intervenes against rogues and tyrants, promotes democratic practices, and expands democratic governance through conditional foreign aid.
Often, such engagement reflects the pursuit of specific national interests. At times, democracies use their hegemonic power to end or preclude a humanitarian disaster that could otherwise send floods of refugees across their borders. At other times, they pre-empt threats to their national security. As often, the powerful democracies exercise hegemony on behalf of something larger-a genuinely new system of power rooted in liberal principles.