The article “INSERT TITLE HERE” by “FIRST NAME LAST NAME” analyzes the so-called “third wave of democracy” in terms of post-Cold War theories of the spread of democracy on a global level, as well as the real events that informed the “third wave.” Namely, the article makes the crucial point that in the post-Cold War period, the large majority of analysts felt that the spread of democracy was now a “natural sequence.” In other words, the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the end of a “bipolar” world where democracy and communism/socialism were the two main ideological orientations of global politics and international relations: according to this interpretation, democracy was now ideologically unopposed and would therefore develop throughout the world in an equally unopposed manner.
Such an interpretation failed to consider the emergence of ideological alternatives, or, from another perspective, that such ideological alternatives were not already in existence. The collapse of the communist-democracy dichotomy did not by definition mean that another ideology which opposes democracy could not emerge.
At the same time, the article makes the key point that was democracy is often interpreted by large segments of the world as merely a mask for American hegemony and imperialism. The thought that American democracy would now “naturally” overtake the world was a naïve interpretation that assumed that the world, without a communist alternative, would now buy into the American narrative of democracy.
American “democracy promotion” after the Cold War, as the article points out, was in many segments perceived as precisely such a hegemonic expansion. The key event here is the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, which prompted a military response from the American government. As the article notes, before this period the U.S. policy of democracy expansion was concentrated in various institutes and think tanks. The War on Terror placed democracy promotion in a military context: The War on Terror was presented as an attempt to secure democracy in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The War on Terror therefore was not merely a war against terror, but also a war for establishing democracy.
Obviously, these policy decisions, because of their violent nature, further deepened the image of an expansionist and hegemonic America. Hence, America’s decision to concentrate foreign policy on what the articles calls the “reigning in of rogue regimes” clearly fit it with the American hegemonic narrative: “rogue regimes” were precisely regimes that opposed the United States explicitly. Hence, as the article notes, regimes that could be considered undemocratic, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen, were not considered rogue: this is a clear hypocrisy in American foreign policy.
In this regard, the distinction which the article makes between U.S. democracy promotion and security objectives becomes something to the effect of a false dichotomy: democracy is merely one of the ways to realize security objectives. In cases, where security objectives have already been realized through alliances, such as the aforementioned states of Saudi Arabia etc., democracy promotion is not a pressing policy concern because security objectives have already met.
It is this hypocrisy – the promotion of democracy only in cases when security objectives are of concern – that shows that American foreign policy is decidedly realist in character, despite its idealist “sheep’s clothing.” It is this blatant hypocrisy that has arguably led to a historically unprecedented global anti-Americanism, as opposed to the “natural” development of democracy that analysts expected after the Cold War’s conclusion. Accordingly, the article in question points out precisely the problems such policy decisions have produced. What has occurred is a loss of a “mantle of legitimacy” that threatens American hegemony and thus has increased American security concerns as opposed to reducing them.