What is the connection between America’s security and the state of democracy in the world? At a recent conference at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC on this subject, eleven experts of varying political and operational perspectives all concluded that the national-security interests of the United States and its allies not only permit, but require, America to support democracy abroad, note analysts Adrian A. Basora and Kenneth Yalowitz. Not to do so would ignore an existential threat to democracies, and to the international order that has allowed the United States to remain secure and prosper, they write for The National Interest:
Understandably, much of the focus of the new U.S. administration will be on countering terrorist threats and dampening the appeal of radical ideology to susceptible young people. Yet, we must pay attention to prospects for democratic transition and meet the authoritarian counteroffensive. At the same time, Americans must reaffirm their own democratic commitments and standards as they manage their economic divisions and challenges. If democracy is to continue to flourish, nothing is more important than being true to American values and principles and protecting them globally.
Adrian A. Basora was the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic and is director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute Eurasia Program and Project on Democratic Transitions. Kenneth Yalowitz is the director of the Conflict Resolution Program at Georgetown University and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and was U.S. ambassador to Belarus and Georgia.