In this essay, delivered as the Irving Kristol Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute in February 2004, Charles Krauthammer examines four contending schools of American foreign policy: isolationism, liberal internationalism, realism, and democratic globalism. After analyzing the sources and merits of each school, he concludes that a variant of realism and democratic globalism, which he calls democratic realism, is best suited to America's position of preeminent power and the challenges of confronting and subduing Arab-Islamic fanaticism. We will support democracy everywhere, but we will commit blood and treasure only in places where there is a strategic necessity--meaning, places central to the larger war against the existential enemy, the enemy that poses a global mortal threat to freedom.
Charles Krauthammer is one of America's foremost political essayists and widely read columnists. He writes a weekly syndicated column for the Washington Post that appears in more than 125 newspapers worldwide and a monthly essay for Time magazine, and contributes frequently to The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, and other journals. He also appears regularly on Inside Washington and FOX News. Mr. Krauthammer is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, the National Magazine Award for essays and criticism, the Bradley Prize for promotion of liberal democracy and American institutions, and, on the occasion of the presentation of this essay, the American Enterprise Institute's highest award, the Irving Kristol Award.