Have leading democracies ‘lost their moral fervor’?


Some Americans have concluded that the best thing to do is to pull back from the world and its troubles, say three prominent former officials. Some argue that America’s role as guarantor of global order is no longer necessary, history having “ended” with the Cold War; others think that “nation-building at home” is some kind of alternative to engagement abroad, according to Eliot Cohen, Counselor at the Department of State, 2007-2009, Eric Edelman, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 2005-2009, and Brian Hook, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, 2008-2009.

“We do not yet face a cataclysm like that of the late 1930s,” they write for World Affairs. “But our era is coming to resemble that one when the democratic powers lost their moral fervor, their self-confidence, their military edge, and the will to use their power against aggression whose ultimate target was the international order itself.”

The McCain Institute and National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies have organized a conference on “Advancing Democracy and Human Rights Promotes U.S. National Security Interests” on Wednesday, September 21, 2016:

The event will feature a number of experts, former senior government officials, and practitioners to highlight the importance of advancing democracy and human rights in promoting American national interests. It will mark the release of the Democracy and Human Rights Working Group Report, which includes papers on how to pursue democracy and human rights interests in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. In addition to discussing the challenges in some of these countries, the speakers will offer recommendations for the next administration and the next Congress.

Convened by The McCain Institute, the Democracy and Human Rights Working Group is comprised of academic and think tank experts, NGO practitioners, and former administration officials. The working group seeks to elevate the importance of democracy and human rights issues in U.S. foreign and national security policy by developing monthly policy papers with practical recommendations.

Current confirmed speakers include:

Cynthia Arnson, Director, Latin American Program, The Wilson Center

ADM Dennis Blair, USA (Ret.), Former United States Director of National Intelligence

Thomas Carothers, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Ambassador Johnnie Carson, (Ret. – left), Senior Advisor to the President, United States Institute of Peace

Charles Dunne, Non-resident Scholar, the Middle East Institute

Larry Garber, Senior Advisor, USAID

Carl Gershman (right), President, National Endowment for Democracy

Monica Vegas Kladakis, Senior Advisor for Human Rights and Democracy, The McCain Institute

David J. Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy, The McCain Institute

Michael Miklaucic, Director of Research, Information and Publications at the Center for Complex Operations (CCO) at National Defense University

James A. Schear, Visiting Professor, Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute, U.S. Army War College

Kurt Volker, Executive Director, The McCain Institute

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC 20319

Doors open: 1:00 PM EST. Event starts: 1:30 PM EST. Event ends: 5:30 PM EST

Please allow 15 minutes to get through security and bring 2 forms of photo ID.


Join the conversation @McCainInstitute using #MIHumanRights.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email