Ivo Daalder & James Lindsey propose a new international organisation – an Alliance of Democratic States
Sovereignty carries with it a responsibility to protect citizens against mass violence and a duty to prevent internal developments that threaten others. We need to build an international order that reflects how states organize themselves internally. The great dividing line is democracy. Democratic states pose far less of a threat to other countries and are often more capable than autocracies. That is why democratic nations should rally together to pursue their common interests.
We need an Alliance of Democratic States. This organization would unite nations with entrenched democratic traditions, such as the United States and Canada; the European Union countries; Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia; India and Israel; Botswana and Costa Rica. Membership would be open to countries where democracy is so rooted that reversion to autocratic rule is unthinkable.
Like NATO during the Cold War, the Alliance of Democratic States should become the focal point of American foreign policy. Unlike NATO, however, the alliance would not be formed to counter any country or be confined to a single region. Rather, its purpose would be to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism, curtail weapons proliferation, cure infectious diseases and curb global warming. And it would work vigorously to advance the values that its members see as fundamental to their security and well-being — democratic government, respect for human rights, a market-based economy. [Washington Post]
Democracies are not like-minded; but such an alliance of democracies can provide an alternative centre of legitimacy to the dopey UN Security Council. Such an alliance would represent the popular opinion of more than one-third of the world’s population; far more than what the Security Council can claim to do.
Daalder and Lindsey suggest that the United States should lead such an alliance. The United States is a natural leader of such an alliance, but as the authors should know – leadership in a democratic context has to be earned, not assumed.