Of course not. It has been an aspect of US foreign policy since the birth of our nation… but has become increasingly more primary a concern after WWI. See the article below:
[quote]The American promotion of democracy abroad, particularly as it has been pursued since the end of World War II, reflects a pragmatic, evolving, and sophisticated understanding of how to create a stable and relatively peaceful world order. It amounts to what might be called an American “liberal” grand strategy. It is a strategy based on the very realistic view that the political character of other states has an enormous impact on the ability of the United States to ensure its security and economic interests. It is also an orientation that unites factions of the Left and the Right in American politics. Conservatives point to Ronald Reagan as the great Cold War champion of the free world, democracy, and self-determination - but rarely recognize him as the great Wilsonian of our age. Liberals emphasize the role of human rights, multilateral institutions, and the progressive political effects of economic interdependence. These positions are parts of a whole. Although “realist” critics and others complain about drift and confusion in U.S. foreign policy, it actually has a great deal of coherence.
The American preoccupation with promoting democracy abroad fits into a larger liberal view about the sources of a stable, legitimate, secure, and prosperous international order. This outlook may not always be the chief guiding principle of policy, and it may sometimes lead to error. Still, it is a relatively coherent orientation rooted in the American political experience and American understandings of history, economics, and the sources of political stability. It thus stands apart from more traditional grand strategies that grow out of European experience and the so-called realist tradition in foreign policy, with its emphasis on balances of power, realpolitik, and containment.
This distinctively American liberal grand strategy is built around a set of claims and assumptions about how democratic politics, economic interdependence, international institutions, and political identity encourage a stable political order. It is not a single view articulated by a single group of thinkers. It is a composite view built on a variety of arguments by a variety of supporters. Some advocate promoting democratic institutions abroad, some lobby for free trade and economic liberalization, and others aim to erect ambitious new international and regional economic and security institutions. Each group has its own emphases and agendas, each may think of itself as entirely independent of the others (and occasionally even hostile to them), but over the years they have almost inadvertently complemented one another. Together, these efforts have come to constitute a liberal grand strategy.
It has, however, been a largely hidden strategy. After President Wilson’s spectacular failure to create world order through the League of Nations after World War I, liberal internationalism was badly discredited. And the charge that Wilson and his followers were sentimental idealists was not unjustified. “In the conduct of foreign affairs,” writes Wilson biographer Arthur S. Link, Wilson’s “idealism meant for him the subordination of immediate goals and material interests to superior ethical standards and the exaltation of moral and spiritual purposes.” But Wilson overshadowed the more general liberal internationalist tradition that began to flourish in America and Britain at the turn of the century and that was chiefly concerned with the rising complexities of modern society, the savageness of war, and the need for more systematic forms of international cooperation.
No matter. It was easy to conclude that the liberal doctrine had failed, and in fact a great and single statement of that doctrine was never produced. But in the shadows it remained a strong presence in the practical work of American officials, especially as they sought in the first few years after World War II to reconstruct Europe and open the postwar world economy. This presence was felt not only in the creation of the United Nations, but in the launching of other international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the apparatus of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, all designed to secure what President Harry S. Truman called “economic peace.” American officials laid the foundation of a liberal democratic order on principles of economic openness, political reciprocity, and the management of conflicts in new multinational institutions.
The realities of the Cold War soon overpowered the thinking of American officials, however, and after 1947 the doctrine of containment - with its rousing urgency and clarity of purpose - soon east liberal internationalism into shadow again. But the principles and practices of Western order came earlier and survived longer. Today, in the aftermath of the Cold War, the five chief elements of liberal grand strategy are again re-emerging in a clearer light.
The Amity of Democracies: Woodrow Wilson was probably the purest believer in the proposition that democracies maintain more peaceful relations, and his great optimism about the prospects for democracy around the globe after World War I accounts for his exaggerated hopes for world peace. “A steadfast concert of peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants,” he declared in 1917.
Wilson’s claim was only the most emphatic statement of a long tradition in American diplomacy holding that the United States will be able to trust and get along best with democracies. This was the view, for example, that largely inspired the U.S. effort to remake Japan and Germany along more democratic lines after World War II. In the minds of the era’s American leaders, including President Truman, the fundamental cause of both world wars was the rise of illiberal, autocratic states.
[color=blue]Read further at:[/color] mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/exdem.htm