In response to:

Mission Impossible from the October 6, 1994 issue

To the Editors:

Theodore Draper cites material from my book America’s Mission [NYR, October 6] to try to discredit my argument that promoting democracy around the world has contributed to American national security. Indeed, on occasion the effort has been hypocritical or a failure. But that is far from the entire story. My book looks at the challenge of nationalism as the overriding reality with which the United States has had to contend in this century; sees the democratization of foreign nationalisms not simply as a moral but also as a basic security concern of this country (witness the explicitly anti-democratic fascist and communist nationalisms with which we have had to deal); and indicates some outstanding successes of US policy, as in the effort to democratize Japan as well as Germany, which in turn fostered union among the democratic states of Europe after 1945.

Today when we try to promote democracy in Russia and Eastern Europe, in the Philippines, South Korea, or Taiwan, or throughout Latin America, I believe that we are fostering the consolidation of political systems better able than in the past to provide stability to their people and to work cooperatively with the United States. Whatever the shortcomings of American foreign policy, it nonetheless has contributed directly and importantly to the current prestige of democracy worldwide.

Tony Smith
Department of Political Science
Tufts University
Medford, Massachusetts

This Issue

December 1, 1994