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Democracy Promotion Concept in US Foreign Policy: A New Impulse in the Development of the American Exceptionalism Idea,

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Abstract. The leaders of the United States during the second half of the 20th–early 21st centuries, speaking in the country and abroad, they called the United States a “lighthouse of democracy” and “leader of the Free World”, stressed that the country has a responsibility for peace, as well as a responsibility for preserving and promoting democratic principles. The article traces the development of the idea of promoting democracy in American foreign policy doctrinal documents. Peculiarities are noted in the approaches of the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, who chose the basis of the policy of democratization, respectively, human rights activities and the economic component. The author argues that it was under George W. Bush that the goal of the United States was to build a democratic world, and under Bill Clinton, the democracy promotion idea was already emerging from the “shadow” of the Containment doctrine, becoming an independent direction of American foreign policy. The article examines how the place of the democracy promotion in the US national security strategies is gradually expanding. It is noted that by the beginning of the 21st century became obvious that this concept is based on the theory of a democratic world, the theory of the “third wave of democratization” and the ideas about the universality of the American experience in building a democratic society. The article substantiates thesis that Bill Clinton worked in an era of optimistic expectations of the acceleration of democratic processes in the world, while President George W. Bush Jr. faced with the decline of the democratic “wave”. In promoting democratization, the new US president relies on new tools (direct military invasion, “color revolutions”), which quickly led to the discrediting of the idea of promoting democracy.

Keywords: USA, democracy, messianic idea, promotion of democracy, American exceptionalism, “Wilsonianism”, democratic peace, “the third wave of democratization”.

For citation: Ayriyan R.S. Democracy Promotion Concept in US Foreign Policy: A New Impulse in the Development of the American Exceptionalism Idea, in Novoe Proshloe / The New Past. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 8–22. DOI 10.18522/2500-3224-2022-3-8-22.

The article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).  

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