Subscribe to FDD

Freedom Betrayed

How America led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War and Walked Away

Michael Ledeen
1st January 1996

This is the Age of the Second Democratic Revolution. Inspired by the values of the American Revolution, supported and advanced by American military power and a remarkable generation of democratic leaders, the revolution has swept the world. Antidemocratic regimes have fallen in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Parliaments from the Italian Chamber of Deputies to the American Congress have been radically transformed. The cult of the state -- the belief that government is better suited than individuals or spontaneous, temporary organizations to solve mankind's basic problems -- came under global assault, and in a surprising number of countries the powers of once-oppressive central governments were greatly reduced. Tyranny has been routed on every continent, and hopeful democrats, many of them survivors of frightful repression, torture, and mass murder, have proclaimed the people's right to choose their own government and live under a system of law rather than arbitrary diktat. When the Soviet Empire collapsed at the beginning of this decade, it seemed that we might soon see democracy everywhere triumphant and that our children could live in a world governed by our highest ideals.

Yet just at that moment our values had swept the world, our leaders betrayed the Democratic Revolution, abandoned our historic mission, and stood by as the forces of tyranny reestablished much of their evil sway, The enemies of democracy -- seemingly overthrown just a few years ago -- are becoming stronger in much of the former Soviet Empire, and in some cases the very same men and women who inflicted the Communist terror are no returning to power, wrapped in a newfound mantle of democratic respectability. Having won the cold war, we are in danger of seein gour historic victory overwhelmed by a new generation of tyrants.

In this call to embrace the worldwide democratic revolution, this book argues that global democracy should be the centerpiece of U.S. strategy.


american-diplomacy, democracy, democratic-movements, exceptionalism, united-states