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COMMENTARY / EXCERPTS : Democracy Triumphs-What Went Right?

March 02, 1986|CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

The Reagan foreign policy today might be called responsible pan-interventionism. (Any perceived oxymoron lies in the eye of the beholder; the United States has never been involved in more places in the world than it is today, and yet it is hard to think of a time in, say, the last 25 years when the United States has been less at risk of war.) Under pan-interventionism, the authoritarian-totalitarian distinction, as a prescription for where to intervene, dissolves. Where the distinction does remain in force is on the question of how to intervene.

As a guide for deciding which regimes the United States will push toward democracy, the authoritarian-totalitarian distinction has been superseded--by the Reagan Doctrine, whose ideological foundation lies in the idea of freedom. And that idea, if it is to be serious, must be universal.

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