Democratic Realism

What does democratic realism mean in the 21st century? It means that democracy must be regarded as a national security interest. What are the implications? 1) Democracy must be protected from within and without, from external threats (state and non-state threats) and from internal threats (through the ballot box or from unelected threats). Comprehensive national security doctrines must be drawn up to this end to protect liberal democracy from every conceivable and inconceivable threat. 2) The global community of liberal democracy is shrinking, we must make sure that it instead continually expands. Strategies must be devised to identify nations ripe for democratization and liberalization and efforts must be concentrated where conditions make nations conducive to become successful in those respects. 3) Liberal democracies must identify democratic interests and where possible pursue those instead of realpolitik which is sometimes also necessary. What are democratic interests? Those are national interests based on democratic values, common interests of democracies and/or survival of a democracy or a democratic nation. Democratic realism must not adopt the naive missionary zeal of idealism but rather approach the question of promotion of democratic interests in a coolheaded fashion. Democracy and peace are not possible everywhere at every time and so must not be pursued recklessly. 

Another question pertains to enemies and semi-enemies of open society. When should they be opposed and when should they be co-opted? This is a tricky question. Dictatorships that are not hostile towards democracies should generally be co-opted and those that are hostile must be opposed and if possible overthrown. In domestic politics is this an even more difficult question. Existential enemies of open society must not ever be given control over democracies but what to do when they are elected in substantial numbers? Another problem is domestic semi-enemies of open society within liberal democracies, both candidates and parties, how to relate to them? The only solution apparently is to outlaw them all, both enemies and semi-enemies of open society. Even those who come in ideological disguise must be outlawed.