Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has produced a compelling essay for the current issue of Foreign Affairs which addresses the “new realities” which inform the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, specifically as it relates to the imposition of democracy in previously non-democratic states.
Under the title, “Rethinking the National Interest: American Realism for a New World,” Rice notes that the Bush Administration began in 2000 with a foreign policy disinclined to using American military force in nation building. Now, seven years later, she defends the Bush Administration’s nation building efforts as the only reasonable response to the 9/11 attacks. (I should note here that I’m as weary of conservatives appealing to 9/11 to forward their agenda as I am of liberals appealing to the election of 2000 to forward theirs.)
Secretary Rice makes the case that only by establishing democratic states in volatile regions of the world can the United States hope to secure its interests. She readily admits that such a policy is a historic departure from previous administrations.
... It is vital to our national security that states be willing and able to meet the full range of their sovereign responsibilities, both beyond their borders and within them. This new reality has led us to some significant changes in our policy. We recognize that democratic state building is now an urgent component of our national interest. And in the broader Middle East, we recognize that freedom and democracy are the only ideas that can, over time, lead to just and lasting stability, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq [emphasis added].
The Bush administration’s approach to [the Middle East] has been its most vivid departure from prior policy. But our approach is, in reality, an extension of traditional tenets—incorporating human rights and promotion of democratic development into a policy meant to further our national interest.