Downes makes an important point in spelling out just how frequently the United States has intervened abroad, whether by military or clandestine means. One could increase the numbers by including all the “non-kinetic” efforts the United States has undertaken in the direction of democracy promotion. All in all, a long list.
Robert Kagan has made a similar point, but Kagan, of course, has been a proponent of U.S. power and the potential value of using it (as have I). Insofar as Downes presents himself as a critic of the use of U.S. power, or at least of “foreign-imposed regime change,” his conclusion that the United States view interventionist policies with caution will be more persuasive to those who share his normative views than Kagan may have been.