His surge of troops helps promote a safe and secure vote this Thursday.
Soon after he became president, Barack Obama ended the "democracy promotion" in Muslim countries begun by George W. Bush. His secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, spoke only of three D's in foreign policy – defense, diplomacy, and development.
Democracy was not on the list.
But an important election this Thursday in Afghanistan is pushing Mr. Obama toward the neoconservative idea of using force to promote democracy and freedom as a bulwark against Islamic terrorism. Not only has he sent a surge of troops to Afghanistan, he is making sure US soldiers prevent the Taliban from attacking polling stations, threatening voters, and otherwise ruining the vote for president and local councils.
"Today, our troops are helping to secure polling places for this week's election so Afghans can choose the future they want," Obama said in a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.
The Taliban see this election as a violation of Islam and threaten to chop off the ink-stained finger of anyone who casts a ballot. Recent US assaults on Taliban strongholds are Obama's attempt to make sure the election is free and fair – and conducted without fear. Such a defense of democracy is essential if Afghanistan is to not again become a sanctuary for international terrorists, especially Al Qaeda.