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US foreign policy paper by ACFR
  Skip to content How are emerging powers changing the world? HomeBrazilIndiaChinaBRICSGlobal governanceSitemapAboutLanguageArabicChineseEnglishFrenchGermanOther languagesPortugueseRussianSpanishEventsBook reviewsAcademic journal articlesResearch Projects Towards democratic internationalism in a post-exceptionalist era? 2012 December 16Book reviews, English, Global governance 2 Commentsby Oliver StuenkelLike 15 Retweet 8 G. John Ikenberry (author of  Liberal Leviathan ) and Daniel Deudney have written a thought-provoking  policy paper arguing that the United States should initiate a new phase of democratic internationalismbased on the pull of success rather than the push of power that deepens democracy globally, preventsdemocratic backsliding, and strengthens and consolidates bonds among democratic states. Today, theyargue, the United States is no longer as exceptional and indispensable largely because of its success increating a free world order in which so many states are liberal, capitalist, and democratic. The triumphalistunipolar moment, according to the authors, is over.Therefore, the US needs to reinvigorate liberal internationlaism by once again embracing democracypromotion, but based on a strategy of attraction—the pull of success rather than the push of power. Thisnext phase of “democratic internationalism” would return liberal internationalism to its roots in socialdemocratic ideals, seek to redress imbalances within the democratic world between fundamentalistcapitalism and socioeconomic equity, and move toward a 'posthegemonic system' of global governance inwhich the United States increasingly shares authority with other democracies. As a consequence, thispaper dedicates a surprising amount of space to domestic issues - how to deal with inequality, health care,and fiscal imbalances to assure that democracies become 'middle-class societies' again and arefundamentally seen as more successful countries than non-democratic regimes.   ll together now Democracies, the authors assert, must develop a stronger sense of community to face today's challenges. They correctly point out that today's democracies do not face an ideological threat similar to communismduring the Cold War. Neither China, nor Russia, nor any other state or non-state actor is capable of articulating any narrative that can seriously challenge liberal democracy. Yet it is precisely because of theabsence of such a threat that democracies are unlikely to unite in the way Ikenberry and Deudney wouldlike to have it. The Soviet threat made Atlantic cooperation a necessity that no longer exists today.In addition, countries like India are democratic, but they are extremely reluctant when it comes todemocracy promotion or to join a 'democratic alliance'. Many scholars argue that democracy is a non-issue for Indian foreign policy. India-Brazil ties, for example, are unlikely to grow very strong justbecause both countries happened to be democracies - other issues, not related to democracy, matter just asmuch. Brazil defends democracy in its neighborhood, but mostly because it aligns with its project of regional hegemony, not because it cares about an international community of democracies. In the sameway, neither Turkey, South Africa nor Indonesia have been keen democracy defenders or supporters.Ikenberry and Deudney argue that the time has never been better to realize the democratic internatioanlistproject - yet what exactly can the United States do to convince democracies such as Brazil and India tostart thinking and acting in the framework of a community of democracies? The paper is conspicuouslysilent about Brazil's and India's motivations to join the United States in such an endeavor.The authors argue that rather than automatically building larger transnational or supranational bodies andorganizations, the democratic community should explore networks, private-public partnerships, andinformal groupings as frameworks for managing interdependence. Yet isn't this what democracies shoulddo with non-democratic regimes as well? As I have argued in a recent post, democracies must engageChina's civil society to overcome the barriers its non-democratic regime erects between the Chinesepeople and the rest of the world.Speaking about the United States relation to non-Western democracies, the authors' assertion that civilizational differences that will overshadow ties and that human rights and political democracy arenot just Western in srcin but Western in character, and their realization is incompatible with the corevalues of non-Western civilizations is unlikely to find much approval among readers in Istanbul, Jakarta,New Delhi and Pretoria. Ikenberry and Deudney are right that the United States must become a 'normal'democracy (and no longer an exceptionalist one), but they say little about how to contain the UnitedStates' exceptionalist impulses, which includes allowing emerging powers such as Brazil and Turkeyassume greater responsibility regarding issues formerly monopolized by the US - such as the Middle Eastconflict.  The paper ends on an ambiguous note - while Ikenberry and Deudney argue that the United States shouldbecome a post-exceptional country, they also hope to extend the American century - from a Brazilian orIndian perspective, a stronger US commitment is necessary that the United States is not opposed to theirrise and stronger projection of power in global affairs. In addition, many policy makers in risingdemocracies will be reluctant to use the authors' liberal rhetoric for fear of creating an 'insider vs. outsider'dynamic between democracies and non-democratic regimes.Still, Ikenberry and Deudney make a courageous attempt to introduce new issues into the public debate -it is easy to criticize their recommendations, but much harder to develop new ideas about how the UnitedStates should position itself in a post-Western world. Read also: Book review: “No One’s World” by Charles A. KupchanBook review: “American Democracy Promotion: Impulses, Strategies and Impacts”2040: US military supremacy vs Chinese economic leadershipWho will make the rules in tomorrow’s world?2 Responses leave one ! Trackbacks and Pingbacks 1. Book review: Responsibility to Protect: Cultural Perspectives in the Global South by Rama Maniand Thomas G. Weiss (eds.)2. Advocating a Liberal World Order? | Post Western World Leave a Reply Name: (required):Email: (required):Website:Comment: Note:  You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never  be published.Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.  Submit Comment Oliver Stuenkel Oliver Stuenkel, Professor of International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo, BrazilREAD MORE Subscribe SIGN UP TO RECEIVE THE MONTHLY DIGEST Search type and press enter Selected Articles Tell a Better StoryWho is Dilma Rousseff?Why Brazil MattersÍndia, muito prazer, Brasil Like Post Western World   Like374 people like this. Twitterfeed No public Twitter messages.TwiterFollow Oliver Stuenkel on Twitter
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