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The United States--and its democratic allies--face many foreign policy challenges. They come from rising and resurgent powers, including China and Russia. They come from other autocracies that violate the rights of their citizens. They come from rogue states that work with each other in ways inimical to our interests and principles, and that sponsor terrorism and pursue weapons of mass destruction. They come from Al Qaeda and its affiliates who continue to plot attacks against the United States and our allies. They come from failed states that serve as havens for terrorists and criminals and spread instability to their neighbors.
The United States faces these challenges while engaged in military operations across the globe, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. The sacrifice of American lives and significant economic expenditure in these conflicts has led to warnings of U.S. strategic overreach, and calls for American retrenchment. There are those who hope we can just return to normalcy--to pre-9/11 levels of defense spending and pre-9/11 tactics. They argue for a retreat from America’s global commitments and a renewed focus on problems at home, an understandable if mistaken response to these difficult economic times.
In fact, strategic overreach is not the problem and retrenchment is not the solution. The United States cannot afford to turn its back on its international commitments and allies--the allies that helped us defeat fascism and communism in the 20th century, and the alliances we have forged more recently, including with the newly liberated citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our economic difficulties will not be solved by retreat from the international arena. They will be made worse.
In this new era, the consequences of failure and the risks of retreat would be even greater than before. The challenges we face require 21st century strategies and tactics based on a renewed commitment to American leadership. The United States remains the world’s indispensable nation -- indispensable to international peace, security, and stability, and indispensable to safe-guarding and advancing the ideals and principles we hold dear.
The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code that promotes:
FPI looks forward to working with all who share these objectives, irrespective of political party, so that the United States successfully confronts its challenges and make progress toward a freer and more secure future.