We have decided to write this article together because of our deep belief that the security of free peoples and the growth of freedom both demand a restoration of bipartisan consensus in American foreign policy. We disagree on some policy choices. But we are convinced that the American national purpose must at some point be fixed. If it is redefined—or even subject to redefinition—with every change of administration in Washington, the United States risks becoming a factor of inconstancy in the world. The national tendency to oscillate between exaggerated belligerence and unrealistic expectation will be magnified. Other nations—friends or adversaries—unable to gear their policies to American steadiness will go their own way, dooming the United States to growing irrelevance.
We hope the next president will appreciate the value of continuity in American foreign policy. He should know that the country has been well served by maintaining principles which have kept us strong and prosperous for almost half a century under Republican and Democratic presidents alike.
In this year of political transition, and in a foreign policy setting where major roles are changing at home and abroad, we believe it vital to identify several crucial bipartisan objectives for the next administration, whether it be Republican or Democratic. In this year’s political campaign, differences of opinion will exist between the candidates about the best ways to achieve these goals, and debate will continue past election day over specific policies and methods of implementation. However, if broad agreement on central foreign policy objectives can be achieved, the 41st president of the United States will be able to start his term with a strong popular mandate for leadership at home and abroad.
By the end of this century a number of the pillars on which the global order was rebuilt after World War II will have changed significantly. For the United States, our nuclear monopoly will have disappeared and our relative share of the world economy will be less
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