I’m all in favour of ‘democracy promotion’ (means to be determined on a case-by-case basis). Indeed, I consider it to be an essential goal for the West in the 21st century, both for reasons of self-interest (democratic governments do not go to war with each other), and basic human morality (democratic governments respect universal human rights).
I can’t understand thinking that a democratic government’s role does not involve securing and promoting democracy. ~Akrasia
Akrasia’s first claim, the claim of democratic self-interest in promoting democracy, is based on a fable and a dream. Not only do democracies go to war against each other with sufficient regularity to reject any talk of “exceptions that prove the rule,” they tend to wage particularly nasty, long, drawn-out wars against each other. Second, must we continue to belabour simple points about whether democracies respect human rights? Some democratic states (Russia leaps to mind) do no such thing, and there is nothing inherent in democracy that requires such governments do respect those rights. If by “democracy,” Akrasia means constitutional government under a rule of law, he should say so and stop importing the virtues of one kind of regime into democracy and pretending that democracy has something to do with respecting human dignity and the claims of morality. Any government’s duties, regardless of its political constitution, are defined by providing basic order, enforcing the laws, protecting citizens against external threats and securing the interests and welfare of the people and the commonwealth. At no point is it part of any government’s function to export an ideology or lend its support to the spreading of a certain type of government elsewhere in the world. Besides going beyond its proper functions, any government that did this would very likely have to acquire such power that it would become a threat to the constitution of the home country.