Democratic Internationalism: An American Grand Strategy for a Post-exceptionalist Era

G. John Ikenberry, Daniel Deudney
Content Type
Working Paper
Council on Foreign Relations
Over the past half-century—what is often called the “American century”—the United States enjoyed extraordinary success, growth, and influence. It was not only the pivotal “arsenal” in the defense of democracy but also the principal exemplar of democratic capitalism that held enormous appeal around the world. During this era, the United States was simultaneously locked in a geopolitical and ideological bipolar struggle with the Soviet Union and, within the free world community, acknowledged as the leader and defender of a broad community of democratic capitalist countries. Not surprisingly, therefore, the United States pursued a multifaceted grand strategy. It played the role of Cold War leader of a coalition in global great power rivalry. It was also the indispensable leader in building order and cooperation within the free world camp. At the same time, the United States often employed its immense influence to advance a universalistic program of human betterment centered on political democracy, market capitalism, free trade, human rights, national self-determination, and international law and organization.
International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Diplomacy
Political Geography
United States, Soviet Union