Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Why “Conservative,” Not Liberal, Internationalism?
Why “Conservative,” Not Liberal, Internationalism?

Why “Conservative,” Not Liberal, Internationalism?


There is no broad literature defining conservative internationalism as there is for liberal internationalism and realism. Yet conservative internationalism differs from liberal internationalism and realism in four important ways. First, it seeks a world of limited government or separate sovereign nations not big international institutions. Second, it believes that national security is a function of ideological differences not just relative power or diplomatic misunderstandings. The democratic peace is a much safer world for America than the balance of power or United Nations. Third, it recognizes the need to use force during negotiations, not just after negotiations fail, because authoritarian states will not take negotiations seriously if they can achieve their objectives outside negotiations. And fourth, it advances democracy conservatively by prioritizing regions where strong democracies exist nearby (today Ukraine and Korea) and by using military leverage to reach timely compromises that weaken authoritarian states.

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