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America's MissionThe United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy$
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Tony Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154923

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154923.001.0001

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Reagan ’s Democratic Revolution

Reagan ’s Democratic Revolution

Chapter:
(p.266) Chapter Ten Reagan ’s Democratic Revolution
Source:
America's Mission
Author(s):

Tony Smith

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154923.003.0010

This chapter examines Ronald Reagan's commitment to the tenets of liberal democratic internationalism, and in particular his promotion of a global “democratic revolution” characterized by an apparent contradiction between activism and moderation in American foreign policy. It begins with a discussion of the Reagan administration's strategy that called for a a minimal effort on its part to realize its vision of a world order dominated by democratic governments, with emphasis on three key operational programs: “constructive engagement”; the push for antistatist, free markets abroad; and the Reagan Doctrine. The chapter then considers the role played by the Reagan administration's policies to the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and the succeeding prestige of democratic governance worldwide. It argues that the American role in the spread of democracy worldwide in the twentieth century was a necessary, but not sufficient, cause for the current strength of democratic government.

Keywords:   democracy, Ronald Reagan, liberal democratic internationalism, democratic revolution, American foreign policy, constructive engagement, free markets, Reagan Doctrine, communism, Soviet Union

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