When, where, and how should the promotion of human rights and democracy abroad figure in American foreign policy? A compelling way for liberals to influence this debate is to underscore a Wilsonian agenda's relevance to national security. To the extent that stability in a region is grounded in a commitment to liberal democratic government, American security interests are served directly and powerfully. Nevertheless, liberals must also recognize that in some regions their agenda may be irrelevant, even quixotic. Not every part of the world is ready for the liberal democratic message, and the failure to recognize this fundamental truth has often undercut efforts to advance a Wilsonian agenda.
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