A typical protestor in the US may display a sign declaring “No blood for oil,” yet how many Americans would wave a banner proclaiming “No blood for liberty?” The promotion of liberty should come more into play in our evaluation of nation-building as a proper foreign policy strategy. For leaders, approaching nation-building from such a standpoint may eliminate unnecessary recourse to doomed strategies or unrealistic goals. Does nation-building promote liberty in the host nation, the intervening nation, both, or neither? The goal here is to address whether nation-building may possibly promote liberty and whether it has yet done so. Montesquieu and John Stuart Mill both exalted liberty as the highest form of human achievement, yet both also approved of colonization in some circumstances. The cases of US nation-building in Japan and Iraq are evaluated in light of these two theorists. The Japanese case demonstrates that the promotion of liberty within the “mother country” and the “dependent country” through nation-building is indeed possible. The case of Iraq, conversely, demonstrates that success and liberty are far from guaranteed.