In an article for the American Prospect on August 24, 2006, Research Director Shadi Hamid continues to flesh out what a progressive foreign policy might look like in the Middle East and suggests that, in the long run, a foreign policy that puts democracy promotion at its center is the only way to secure our strategic interests.  

What might a progressive foreign policy look like — not just in theory but also in practice? In recent months, there have been numerous efforts to forge a workable alternative to the belligerency of neoconservatism and the amorality of neo-realism, including proposals from Michael Signer, Madeleine Albright, Robert Wright, and Peter Beinart. Several common themes come up repeatedly, themes that may very well animate a new progressive consensus on foreign policy. But despite their ambition, the contributions in question address only vaguely the inevitable moral and strategic dilemmas that would-be Democratic policy-makers will have to face.

Beinart’s book, for example, is an invigorating call to arms. But critical questions remain unanswered. Yes, we must promote democracy abroad. We must offer a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East. But the battle we fight today is different than the one we fought in the Cold War for a fundamental reason: If we now know who our enemy is — Islamic extremism or Islamic totalitarianism, depending on your preference — it is not clear that we know who our friends are, the allies who will stand beside us in this new struggle.

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