US President George W. Bush used force to bring the Taliban to its knees and create a fledgling democracy in Afghanistan, then invaded Iraq with the end goal of establishing a democracy there, as well. Meanwhile, presidential hopeful Barack Obama praised those who built democracy's arsenal to vanquish fascism, and who then built a series of alliances and a world order that would ultimately defeat communism, seeming to extol and vindicate the previous US efforts to impose democracy by force. These two leaders' struggles to nail down a definitive answer on whether force should ever be used to impose democracy exemplify some of the challenges in evaluating the practice. In connection, Thompson discusses these legal, moral, and political complexities. He addresses whether the use of force to impose democracy passes international legal muster, and addresses the practicalities and policy questions to be considered when deciding whether to impose democracy through force.
Can Might Make Right? The Use of Force to Impose Democracy and the Arthurian Dilemma in the Modern Era,
71 Law and Contemporary Problems
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol71/iss2/14