The first few generations of American leaders made a sharp distinction between advancing the legitimate interests of the republic and taking on foreign causes that purported to overthrow tyrannical rule and establish democratic systems based on respect for fundamental rights. Within the last half-century, however, a number of foreign insurgent groups have been able to manipulate U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders into supporting their causes. Sometimes those efforts have even entangled the U.S. military in bloody, unnecessary, and morally dubious wars, as in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
In Gullible Superpower, Cato Senior Fellow Ted Galen Carpenter examines the most prominent cases in which well-meaning Americans have ended up supporting misguided policies. He underscores the need for future U.S. leaders to adopt a policy of skepticism and restraint toward foreign movements that purport to embrace democracy.