Bipartisan approach to foreign policy – and advancing democracy – still possible


A bipartisan approach to foreign policy – including a commitment to advancing democracy – is achievable and remains essential for U.S security and global stability around the globe, according to former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright, former national security advisor Stephen J. Hadley and Nancy Lindborg, president of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

We know from our own careers that achieving consensus is hard, they write for POLITICO:

The parties have important differences that cannot be papered over. But even in recent memory, Democrats and Republicans have joined to enable our most important national security and foreign policy achievements—containing Communism, expanding NATO, decimating al Qaeda, promoting democracy, fighting HIV/AIDs and the Ebola virus, achieving arms control agreements, and combatting narco-terrorists in Colombia….. 

A bipartisan foreign policy for the Middle East [for example] would recognize that American leadership is still critical to mobilizing the international help required for these states. It would use every tool in the toolbox: security, diplomatic and development assistance, support for democratic institutions, plus private-sector investment. It would push for a more efficient, effective global relief effort for the world’s record refugee population, focusing on offering these populations opportunities for self-sufficient futures. It would acknowledge that any major U.S. ground force deployment should be avoided unless it is a national security imperative. And it would require a long, patient investment with a partner country, ready for the years of persistent support required to build strong and inclusive institutions.


Madeleine K. Albright served as secretary of state under President Bill Clinton and chairs the National Democratic Institute, a core partner of the National Endowment for Democracy. She recently helped lead the bipartisan Middle East Strategy Task Force sponsored by the Atlantic Council. Stephen J. Hadley served as national security advisor under President George W. Bush. He recently helped lead the bipartisan Middle East Strategy Task Force. Nancy Lindborg is president of the U.S. Institute of Peace and recently co-convened the non-partisan Fragility Study Group on threats from fragile states.



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