• Robert Pee
  • William Michael Schmidli
Part of the Security, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World book series (SCCCW)


The Reagan administration’s democracy promotion initiative was inextricably linked to US Cold War goals. Democracy promotion towards the Soviet bloc posited the possibility of an American Cold War victory secured through democratic transformation in these states. In the Third World, democracy promotion was deployed as part of the Reagan administration’s effort to roll back perceived Soviet gains, stabilize US client states, confront Third World nationalism, and promote neoliberal economic policies. Reagan-era democracy promotion had limitations in terms of scope, human rights, and economic impact. Nevertheless, the rising importance of democracy promotion had significant implications for post-Cold War US foreign policy. Successive post-Cold War administrations advanced the belief that US national interests and moral concerns were best served in a world of free-market democracies.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Pee
    • 1
  • William Michael Schmidli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International StudiesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Institute for HistoryLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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