How American Foreign Policy Inspires Resistance, Insurgency, and Terrorism

The #1 problem with America's mission to spread democracy? We don't know how to do it.


Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been trying to create a liberal world order—and it's been a bipartisan effort, says Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. The problem is that pushing democracy onto other nations is a "delusional" pursuit that destabilizes states in already fractured circumstances. Walt uses the cases of Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan to demonstrate why the US needs an intervention on its constant military interventions. A better approach to US foreign policy? Walt suggests leading by example. The best way to spread democracy abroad might be to have a strong democracy at home. The Charles Koch Foundation aims to further understanding of how US foreign policy affects American people and societal well-being. Through grants, events, and collaborative partnerships, the Foundation is working to stretch the boundaries of foreign policy research and debate by discussing ideas in strategy, trade, and diplomacy that often go unheeded in the US capital. For more information, visit

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Politics & Current Affairs

The key is not to focus disproportionate attention on Israel, but to ask why Israel gets as much aid as it does, says Walt.

Politics & Current Affairs

Walt worries about the "cult of irrelevance" in universities.

Politics & Current Affairs

We need to be realistic about our goals, says Walt.