Supporting internationalism in a dangerous world


The alternatives to U.S. leadership are few, according to former senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who jointly worked on the American Internationalism Project, an impressive bipartisan undertaking to study and promote U.S. leadership, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin writes.

“A central point that we returned to again and again during our project was that the alternatives to American leadership are few,” they write in Catalyst, a new quarterly journal from the George W. Bush Institute:

Even for those countries that might aspire to world leadership, there is simply no guarantee that they would have either the capacity or the will to keep the world safe, markets open, and people free. As then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright [chair of the National Democratic Institute] once said, America truly is the ‘indispensable nation.’ ”

And with regard to democracy, they reject the straw man that we cannot “impose democracy,” Rubin notes:

Rather, they explain, “When a country’s own domestic politics are built on pluralism and consensus, it often leads that country to behave similarly in the international arena. … But supporting human rights and democratic ideals isn’t just about altruism. Democracies will not go to war with the United States, nor will they support terrorism against it, nor will they produce refugees to flee to it. Democracies do, however, ally with the United States and make for better economic partners.” ….

Lieberman argues: “We start by saying protecting democracy, the rule of law, is part of our own mission as a nation. It’s who we are and what we’re supposed to be about.” But he stresses the pragmatic aspect of defending democracies. “When people are free and democratic, they tend to make better allies.” He notes that those who don’t want the United States to carry all the load in defending peace and stability should want other democratic allies to assist us. (As Robert Kagan in a separate Catalyst essay writes: “Supporting democracy is not just a matter of keeping faith with our own values. It is a matter of national security. Americans and other free peoples who benefit from and support the present world order therefore have an interest in supporting democracy where it exists and in pressing for greater democratic reforms in the world’s authoritarian nations, including the two great power autocracies.”)

“We want to find a way to discuss some of the day’s biggest challenges, to look at an issue from all sides, and to elevate the conversation and the ideas,” said Bill McKenzie, the journal’s editor and the editorial director for the Bush Institute.

Each online issue will focus on a central theme and feature essays by Bush Institute directors and other experts, The Dallas Morning News adds:

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban [right] contributed an essay on the ever-changing business market, and how people need to recognize how the world is changing. In his essay about leadership in the economy, he discusses the shrinking number of public companies over the years and how he is working with several banks to encourage companies’ stock market launches.


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