optimism, and progress, began to regard American successnnot as an end but as a means. The successful mobilizationnagainst the totalitarianism of the right, which they believed,nperhaps mistakenly, to be a demon from the past rather thanna portent of the future, proved to them the need andnpossibility for worldwide democracy on the Americannmodel — democracy conceived in terms of the Americannstandard of living and middle-class civilities and technologicalnexpertise.nFrom the war onward the ideal of global democracynunder American leadership and example provided thenrationale for American interaction with the world. Itsninstruments were the United Nations and other internationalnorganizations, which were invested with the same mysticndevotion that the concept of “Union” had once enjoyed;nmassive economic aid to bring the rest of the worid up tonAmerican standards; and, less certainly, a determination tonprovide military security. This international mission was tonbe carried out at the same time reform at home — the GreatnSociety, the Civil Rights revolution, and the opening of thenborders — was to perfect the American example so therencould not be left in the worid any doubters of the sinceritynand success of American equality and democracy.nIn some respects, if not all, global democracy, which hasnremained the chief justification for American foreign policynunder both Democratic and Republican, liberal and conservativenadministrations, is an elite ideology rather than anmovement of the grass roots. Until the attack on PearinHarbor, for instance, despite massive interventionist propagandanand a complete commitment to an antifascist crusadenon the part of the leadership, Americans at large werenoverwhelmingly resistant to involvement in external quarrels.nFollowing the war, the burdens of the Cold War werenshouldered, but often quite reluctantly.nThe ideology of global democracy left many Americansnill-prepared for the resistant reality of the real worid.nAmericans, generally, could not understand how othernpeoples might regard what Americans considered as selfevidentlyngenerous assistance to be unwanted dictation — as,nin fact, imperialism. Few Americans and no Americannleaders were able to conceive that the benefits of technologynand the dollar applied to an undeveloped society did notnalways lead to unalloyed progress, as witness the disintegrationnof the viable tribal societies of black Africa without theirnreplacement by anything stable or satisfactory. Similarly, thenUnited Nations proved a disappointment to most of itsndevotees.nThe great triumph over fascism was succeeded by thenIron Curtain, then by the draw in Korea, and then by thendebacle of a high-minded effort to defend democracy in thenformerly French colonies in Indochina. While Americanndemocracy might provide an appealing contrast to Sovietnimperialism, it offered little guidance in dealing with militantnfundamentalism in the vast Islamic world. The Afghans whonresisted communism did not aspire to democracy butnaspired, in a predemocratic way, to the preservation of theirnreligion and way of life. And what was to happen to thenidealism of global democracy when it was found that thosenforeigners one was called upon to defend from communismnwere not democrats but merely practitioners of an older andnnearly as ugly if not quite as thoroughgoing a form ofn20/CHRONICLESnnnoppression as that against which they were fighting? Thusnglobal democracy provided no basis for an anticommunistnpolicy in Central America.nDespite these setbacks and confusions, global democracynhas maintained a remarkable hold upon the imagination ofnthe American leadership class. The real question is whethernan insistence on applying the measure of democracy —nconceived in a rather abstract and implicitiy Americannway — really gives us an adequate basis for relationships withnother peoples. One does not have to believe in a cynicalnforeign policy to be wary of a rather rootiess and insubstantialnform of idealism. This is as true after as before thendissolution of communism. Nor is it clear that the Americannpublic as a whole, as opposed to the leadership class, is reallyncommitted to a mission to defend and implement American-stylendemocracy around the worid. The felt necessity ofnthe leadership to idealize every step as surrounded with annimmaculate democracy has prevented any constructivenAmerican role in places such as Latin America, wherendemocracy may be chimerical under any circumstances.nClobal democracy may prove more dangerous to alliesnand neutrals than to enemies. Amazingly, the same Americannliberals who believe that America should not police thenworid when it is a question of an aggressor leftist regime,nfind no problem in subverting governments of the right—neven though, presumably, such intervention is only morallynjustified by self-defense and regimes of the right, howeverndistasteful, pose no threat to America. Thus, an ideology putnforth by Reaganites as a defense against totalitarianism cannjust as easily, and without any change in assumptions, benused to undermine some friendly regime that some futurenDemocratic administration finds inadequate by its standardsnof democracy — El Salvador, Chile, South Africa, or evennIsrael. Global democracy already has a substantial record ofnabandoning American allies.nInternally, American society is now engaged in an experimentnto test the limits at which a coherent nationalismncan be maintained in a democratic system by a sharedndoctrine of equality and prosperity, without any bindingncultural, ethnic, religious, or ethical cohesion. The strategynof the leadership toward this problem is one of optimism.nRefuse to recognize the problem and it will go away.nAssume that it is already solved and it will be. Optimism,npositive thinking, is one of the most characteristic ofnAmerican traits and attitudes.nThe history of America has been such as to provide anrealistic basis for optimism. A good deal of national moralenwas restored during the Reagan years (though it remains tonbe seen how genuine and deep this restoration will provenunder possible future stresses). There have always beennnaysayers and prophets of doom in the past and America hasnalways ignored them and proved them wrong. There is nonquestion that American society has already tested andntranscended the limits of all previous experience in creatingnnational unity out of diversity. Optimism, the expectation ofnthe best, is in itself one of the causes of success, Americansnbelieve, while pessimism is sure to find what it expects.nYet the essence of statesmanship is to see and prepare fornthe dangers of the future. It is perhaps not too pessimistic tonobserve that the final answer is not yet in on the most recentn