A League of Extraordinary Democracies

I just taped a Bloggingheads session with Jon Chait in which I expressed considerable skepticism about the Kagan-Daalder call for "a Concert of Democracies" as a non-UN source of international legitimacy for American-led interventions. It appears, though, that I didn't read the piece carefully enough, since in my back-and-forth with Chait I talked a lot about how tough it would be to decide what countries qualify as "democracies" (does Venezuela? Russia?), but via Matt I see that Kagan and Daalder actually pre-emptively address that objection by defining "the world's democracies" as "the United States and its democratic partners in Europe and Asia." Which I guess means NATO and the lands down under plus Japan, South Korea, and India.

If anything, this formulation makes their argument even less persuasive. After all, even if we table the question of how Russia, China, the Arab world, Latin America and Africa would react to a new intervention-authorizing body that was designed to exclude them, it seems to me that if we're looking for a NATO-style organization that can lend legitimacy to interventions that don't have a prayer of passing the Security Council, we should just use, well, NATO - and then try to bring other allies on board on an ad hoc basis, without ideological litmus tests. (A "Concert of Democracies" mission that deliberately excluded Putin's Russia and Musharraf's Pakistan would have had a much tougher time toppling the Taliban, one might venture, then the actual NATO-led, Russian and Pakistani-approved intervention.)