President Obama’s call to arms against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), like his response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, steps up U.S. efforts to curb major threats to U.S. interests. Does it also signal a greater commitment by Obama to stand up for democracy in the world? Probably not. But he should make democracy a priority.
In the current period of global turmoil, support for democracy abroad may seem a misplaced priority, if not a luxury we cannot afford. But the tepid approach we take now is shortsighted. Democracy support deserves a strong emphasis in U.S. foreign policy, because it serves U.S. interests, extends U.S. influence in the world and strengthens our ties to people abroad who share our values.