President Obama's call to arms against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), like his response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, steps up U.S. efforts to curb major threats to U.S. interests. Does it also signal a greater commitment by Obama to stand up for democracy in the world? Probably not. But he should make democracy a priority.
The execution of James Foley is an extremely sobering reminder of the dangers faced by journalists determined to document the suffering of civilians and of the grave dangers to fundamental freedoms posed by ISIS.
In the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and East Asia, antidemocratic forces have been on the rampage, threatening to pull the United States into new conflicts against its will. In each of these cases, the crisis has origins in authoritarian rule, and only a policy built on the promotion of democratic governance has any hope of ensuring a lasting peace.