James Traub on Partisan Politics and Promoting Democracy

Reagan signaled a new activism in promoting democracy among Republicans, James Traub reflects.
  • Transcript



Jim Traub:  Until Reagan, Republicans tended to be kind of standpatters in foreign policy.  Let’s say between the era of Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan, Democrats were more activist, they were more internationalists.  It was the Democrats after all who built the great postwar institutions, the UN, the Bretton Woods Institutions and so forth.  So, I guess, you would say that more of this stuff took place under Democratic presidents Woodrow Wilson, FDR, to some extent Kennedy than under Republicans.  But since Reagan, if anything, that I would say that has reversed itself and the Republicans have been the party of foreign policy romanticism, a democratic idealism and this whole idea of democracy promotions has been stronger or let’s say a more single-minded focus under Reagan and under the current George Bush probably than it was among the Democratic presidents.