ON-Lion Letter

"We believe that a strong United States is essential to the maintenance of the open global order under which this country and the rest of the world have prospered since 1945; that the alternative is not a self-regulating machine of balancing states but a landscape marked by eruptions of chaos and destruction," according to Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, and Brian Hook in their introductory chapter of the John Hay Initiative's (JHI's) new book, Choosing to Lead:  American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World.

"We recognize the failures as well as the successes of past policies, because to govern is to choose, and to choose in the world as it is, is necessarily to err," they continue in the chapter, "Rebuilding American Foreign Policy."  "But while we believe that we must understand those failures and learn from them, we also believe that American power and influence has, on the whole, served our country and the world far better than American weakness and introversion."

Cohen is the Robert E. Osgood Professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  Edelman is the Roger Hertog Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at SAIS and a distinguished fellow of the Center for strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).  Hook is the founder of Latitude, an international consulting firm based.

"[I]t is fair to compare our era to that of the early 1930s, when the democratic powers seemed to have lost much of their military edge and, equally important, their self-confidence and will to use their power," they conclude.  "At the same time, pitiless dictators and virulent ideologies were making use of new technologies to threaten, in ways previously inconceivable, the international order.  In our world, which could turn much darker with little notice, neither a minimalist foreign policy that seeks to avoid conflict and maintain quiet nor one thoughtlessly eager to remake the world, can succeed.

"Rather, America needs a foreign policy based on strength, rooted in values and interests, and conducted with wisdom.  And to that end, this book."

The JHI book features sections on rebuilding America's alliances, national defense, addressing threats to national security, international economics, functional challenges and opportunities, and organizing the government's foreign-policy apparatus.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Choosing to Lead project.  Bradley also supports CSBA.

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