A central issue in debates over the future of U.S. foreign policy is whether the United States should attempt to spread democracy. After the end of the Cold War, many observers argued that the United States needed a new global mission to replace containment of the Soviet Union. Promotion of democracy is one of the most promising candidates for such a mission.
In this book, Christopher Layne and Sean Lynn-Jones present opposing views on this question. Lynn-Jones presents three basic reasons that the United States should attempt to spread democracy. First, democratic political systems benefit their citizens more than other types of political systems. Second, the spread of democracy is likely to expand the zone of democratic peace. Third, the spread of democracy will enhance America's security and international economic relations. Layne takes the opposite view, arguing that the spread of democracy will not increase international peace. instead, U.S. policies to export democracy will divert resources from important domestic priorities. He argues that the United States should focus on national interests and not attempt to control the domestic policies of other countries. After presenting his arguments in detail, each author offers a rebuttal of the other's view.