Confidence in the future of democracy has been shaken by the authoritarian resurgence of the past decade, and some now argue that it is not realistic for the US to continue to champion democracy abroad. Does Democracy Matter? provides the conclusions of eleven scholars from widely different backgrounds who ask whether and, if so, how the US should support democracy beyond its own borders. Although all of the authors agree that American strategic interests are better served in the long run by the consolidation and spread of democracy abroad, they differ sharply on how democracy support should fit into the overall US national security calculus, and on where and how, if at all, such assistance should be delivered.
On June 19, two of the book’s chapter authors will present their differing perspectives in the context of a new administration that seeks to “make America great again.” They will discuss their views on the impact that the health of democracy abroad has not only on our global position, but also on America’s security and prosperity at home.
The participants will discuss why consolidation and spread of democracy abroad is a core strategic interest for the US, and will examine whether and how it should be pursued even in the short term. One chapter author will present his views as to why “hard” security interests should virtually always take precedence over democracy concerns, at least in the short term. And the author of the book’s policy conclusions will sketch out a system of “triage” as part of his thesis that we need to develop more effective approaches to supporting democracy internationally.