President George W. Bush raised democracy promotion to a doctrine in his second inaugural address. Supporting freedom abroad may be a bipartisan tenet of U.S. foreign policy, but Bush’s approach brought a great deal of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Some argue that Bush’s legacy in Iraq and elsewhere tarnished America’s credibility on democracy issues, and brought about destabilizing results that harm American interests. The question that faces the next President is: should the U.S. promote democracy abroad in the future, and if so, how?
On October 20, the Brookings Institution will host a panel discussion on the future of U.S. democracy promotion featuring a distinguished panel of experts including: Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University professor of international affairs and author of Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy (Yale University Press, 2008); James Traub, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and author of the just-published The Freedom Agenda: Why America Must Spread Democracy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008); and Brookings Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes, author of Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy (Brookings Institution Press, 2008).
Brookings Senior Fellow Ivo Daalder will provide introductory remarks and will moderate the discussion. After the program, panelists will take audience questions.