For some time after he took office, President Obama rarely spoke out for human rights or used the word ‘democracy’. It seemed that the administration decided that, in light of the war in Iraq, too much ‘democracy’ talk might be a bad thing. Instead, Obama was focused on rebuilding alliances and his approach was closer to the old-fashioned realism of the first President Bush.
What’s the Big Idea?
But the Arab Spring may have insired Obama to speak even more forcefully on democracy and human rights. “What the president is pursuing might best be described as “democratic realism,” says E.J. Dionne Jr. “If we want a constructive foreign policy debate, let’s drop the appeasement nonsense and argue instead about democratic realism.”