Renewing American Leadership
COMMON SECURITY FOR OUR COMMON HUMANITY
At moments of great peril in the last century, American leaders such as Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy managed both to protect the American people and to expand opportunity for the next generation. What is more, they ensured that America, by deed and example, led and lifted the world—that we stood for and fought for the freedoms sought by billions of people beyond our borders.
As Roosevelt built the most formidable military the world had ever seen, his Four Freedoms gave purpose to our struggle against fascism. Truman championed a bold new architecture to respond to the Soviet threat—one that paired military strength with the Marshall Plan and helped secure the peace and well-being of nations around the world. As colonialism crumbled and the Soviet Union achieved effective nuclear parity, Kennedy modernized our military doctrine, strengthened our conventional forces, and created the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress. They used our strengths to show people everywhere America at its best.
Today, we are again called to provide visionary leadership. This century's threats are at least as dangerous as and in some ways more complex than those we have confronted in the past. They come from weapons that can kill on a mass scale and from global terrorists who respond to alienation or perceived injustice with murderous nihilism. They come from rogue states allied to terrorists and from rising powers that could challenge both America and the international foundation of liberal democracy. They come from weak states that cannot control their territory or provide for their people. And they come from a warming planet that will spur new diseases, spawn more devastating natural disasters, and catalyze deadly conflicts.
To recognize the number and complexity of these threats is not to give way to pessimism. Rather, it is a call to action. These threats demand a new vision of leadership in the twenty-first century—a vision that draws from the pastRead the full article on ForeignAffairs.com