Since 1990, both the United Nations and the United States have promoted democratic nation-building in conflict areas. However, despite the common goal of creating stable democracies, the two entities have often worked at cross purposes. Following the 1993 debacle in Somalia, the United States largely deserted UN nation-building efforts and moved toward unilateral democracy promotion. Over the next decade US efforts were directed at establishing Lockean procedural democracies, defined largely in terms of civil and political institutions. In UN parlance, however, democracy has taken on a holistic meaning that provides for the inclusion of social, economic, and cultural factors. This definitional dissonance, coupled with American conservative hostility toward UN democratic nation-building, undermines the effectiveness of UN efforts. US unilateral democracy promotion has proven largely ineffective as well. Democratization would be far better served by US support for on-going UN nation-building.