America is turning away from support for democrats in Arab countries in favor of 'pragmatic' deals with tyrants to defeat violent Islamist extremism. For too many policymakers, Arab democracy is seen as a dangerous luxury. In Realism and Democracy, Elliott Abrams marshals four decades of experience as an American official and leading Middle East expert and shows that deals with tyrants will not work. Islamism is an idea that can only be defeated by a better idea: democracy. Through a careful analysis of America's record of democracy promotion in the region and beyond, from the Cold War to the Obama years, Abrams proves that repression helps Islamists beat democrats, while political openings offer moderates and liberals a chance. This book makes a powerful argument for an American foreign policy that combines practical politics and idealism and refuses to abandon those struggling for democracy and human rights in the Arab world.