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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: G. John Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter & Tony Smith: The ... - page 7 / 25





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6 Introduction

order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” In his 1982 speech before the British Parliament, President Reagan portrayed the struggle for liberty and democracy as the central drama of a bloody twentieth century: “Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best—a crusade for free- dom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at least free to determine their own destiny.” In the aftermath of the Cold War, President Clinton made “enlargement” of the demo- cratic world America’s guiding goal.

Indeed, the history of American diplomacy in the twentieth century is the repeated encounter of American liberal ideas with the tough and often unyielding realities of the wider world. Across the decades, these ideas continue to nd their way into American diplomacy.4 No less than Henry Kissinger—an icon of the realist alternative to Wilsonianism—concedes that Wilsonianism is the dominant tradition of American foreign policy. “Though Wilson could not convince his own country of its merit, the idea lived on. It is above all to the drumbeat of Wilsonian idealism that Ameri- can foreign policy has marched since his watershed presidency and contin- ues to march to this day.”5

Nonetheless, the Bush administration’s embrace of Wilsonian ideas is actually quite surprising. President Bush brought to ofce the rhetoric of a traditional realist. His national security advisor and future secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, had famously written during the 2000 presiden- tial campaign that a Republican administration would return foreign pol- icy to its traditional emphasis on the management of great power relations and the realist pursuit of the national interest.6 Candidate Bush himself had argued that, “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building. I think our troops ought to be used to ght and win war.”7 Three years later, Bush would be engaged in the most ambi- tious nation-building experiment since the 1940s, asserting that bringing democracy to Iraq and the Middle East was critical to world peace and American national security.8

Bush foreign policy passed through several phases. The early “realist” emphasis of the Bush administration was matched with a resistance to the liberal multilateral emphasis of the Clinton years. This was signaled early in the administration by its resistance to a wide array of international

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