Le retour du réalisme américain

NEW YORK – De nombreux débats font régulièrement leur réapparition dans la politique étrangère américaine : isolationnisme contre internationalisme par exemple, ou unilatéralisme contre multilatéralisme. Mais aucun débat n’est aussi persistant que celui qui fait rage entre ceux pour qui le but principal de la politique étrangère américaine devrait être d’influencer le comportement extérieur d’autre États, et ceux qui soutiennent qu’il devrait consister à façonner leur nature interne.

Ce débat intense entre “réalistes” et “idéalistes” dure depuis longtemps. Pendant la Guerre froide, certains avançaient que les États-Unis devaient essayer de “faire reculer” l’Union Soviétique, abattre le système communiste et le remplacer par un capitalisme démocratique. D’autres estimaient cette stratégie trop dangereuse à l’heure des armes nucléaires, et les États-Unis optèrent plutôt pour une stratégie d’endiguement, en œuvrant pour limiter la portée de la puissance et de l’influence soviétiques. Finalement, après quarante années d’endiguement, l’Union Soviétique et son empire se sont effondrés, bien que cette issue ait été un effet secondaire de la politique américaine, et non son objectif principal.

George W. Bush a été le plus récent partisan “idéaliste” à faire de la promotion de la démocratie la principale priorité de la politique étrangère des États-Unis. Bush avait épousé la théorie appelée “paix démocratique,” qui maintient que les démocraties non seulement traitent mieux leurs propres citoyens, mais agissent mieux envers leurs voisins et les autres.

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