John Agresto writes Was Promoting Democracy a Mistake in the 12/12 issue of Commentary.


Sadly, trying to promote democracy in a nation that is strongly sectarian, intolerant of difference, and skeptical of the equality that gives dignity and freedom to all might do more to hinder than advance democracy.

Should America continue its attempt to spread democracy abroad? Only in the most limited of circumstances, and only when we stop reflexively thinking that every mob that pits itself against autocratic rulers is made of “heroes and patriots.” Do the people we would aid appreciate freedom, and would they be ready to fight for it? More important, are they ready to fight for the freedom of their fellow citizens and be able to live and work with them? Are they willing to live under a government and under a rule of law that empowers and restrains the democratic majority? Are they, moreover, eager to live in peace with their foreign neighbors? If the answer to all those questions is yes, then and only then might it be worth our blood and treasure to help.