Democracy and US Foreign Policy
When America entered World War I in 1917 on the side of the Allies against the Central Powers, President Woodrow Wilson told the nation that America’s goal was to make the world “safe for democracy.” Indeed, in all its major policy formulations and actions, the country’s leaders have invoked democracy, freedom, and sometimes peace as their rationales. On the other hand, many observers have viewed such idealistic rhetoric as an alternative to or mask for America’s more realistic and self-interested motives, such as the extension of overseas markets and profi ts or the maintenance of the balance of power in the world. Which of these alternatives best describes America’s international relations? What role does democracy have in America’s foreign policy?