On January 18, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a new foreign policy called transformational diplomacy. Challenging old assumptions that the domestic character of other countries did not matter for foreign affairs or American security, Rice argued that:
[The United States must] work with our many partners around the world, to build and sustain democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. Let me be clear, transformational diplomacy is rooted in partnership; not in paternalism. In doing things with people, not for them; we seek to use America’s diplomatic power to help foreign citizens better their own lives and to build their own nations and to transform their own futures.
A new era had begun, where threats to national security were not defined by competition between national governments but by newly empowered sub- and trans-national actors. Accordingly, new theories, which rejected the old orthodoxy, were needed. In practice, this meant realigning the State Department’s overseas operations to emphasize on-the-ground diplomacy and develop technological and regional acumen that could foster greater democratization. The logic rested on a fundamental assumption that democracies would prove to be better allies to the United States, be more globally responsible, and be more responsive to the needs of their citizenry. This would help solve a number of crucial threats to US national security, including terrorism, failed-states, and humanitarian crises.
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