The State Department is reportedly considering a new mission statement that will make no mention of encouraging democracy abroad. A White House aide recently suggested similar thinking would guide the president's pending National Security Strategy statement.
If Trump administration officials move forward with these plans, they will be breaking sharply with decades of U.S. foreign policy. They may believe that democratization is a vague and ineffective goal with no place in a hard-bargaining approach that puts "America first." But that conclusion defies the experience of presidents Ronald Reagan and Harry S. Truman, two of the toughest and most effective guardians of American national interests.