Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


José Alemán, Ph.D.


There are several identifiable and ubiquitous reasons why U.S. democracy building interventions fail abroad. The literature has shown that the principal reason that U.S. democracy building efforts fail is that they prioritize seeking immediate stability over creating long-lasting support for liberal democratic institutions. Additionally, contributing factors are also: lack of knowledge of the political history of a nation, lack of knowledge of the complexities within the domestic politics of each nation, lack of local and grassroots inclusion in planning processes, and the use of destabilizing covert and overt operations in an attempt at immediate results, with little force put behind rebuilding efforts. This paper will discuss these failures through the case studies of the U.S. interventions in Chile and Afghanistan. These represent both ends of the spectrum of U.S. intervention, and the different methods of democracy promotion. The United States has tried to replicate its successes in Germany and Japan, in countries with very different histories and comparatively limited development. Utilizing the same methodology for all foreign interventions, dooms the democratization process before it can even begin. By neglecting to account for the specificities of each case, U.S. foreign interventions are incapable of supporting the formation of stable democracies.