JLBC: Leadership

JLBC: Leadership

The US Helped to build our international system after World War II and to bring about the globalization that came with the end of the Cold War; we must reengage the world on a comprehensive and sustained basis.

Engagement begins with our closest friends and allies— from Europe to Asia, North America to the Middle East. These nations share a common history of struggle on behalf of security, prosperity, and democracy. They share common values and a joint commitment to in- international norms that recognize the rights and re-responsibilities of all sovereign nations. America’s national security depends on these vibrant alliances. We must engage them as active partners in addressing global and regional security priorities and harnessing new opportunities to advance common interests. For instance, we pursue close and regular collaboration with our close allies, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, on issues of mutual and global concern.

We will continue to deepen our cooperation with other 21st century centers of influence—including China, India, and Russia—based on mutual interests and respect. We will also pursue diplomacy and development that supports the emergence of new and successful partners, from the Americas to Africa; from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Our ability to advance constructive cooperation is essential to the security and prosperity of specific regions and to facilitating global collaboration on issues ranging from violent extremism and nuclear proliferation to climate change and global economic instability—issues that challenge all nations, but no one nation alone can meet.

To hostile governments, we offer a clear choice:

  • Abide by international norms.

  • Achieve the political and economic benefits of greater integration with the international community.

  • Refuse to accept this pathway and bear the consequences of that decision, including more excellent isolation.

Through engagement, we can create opportunities to resolve differences, strengthen the international community’s support for our actions, learn about the intentions and nature of closed regimes, and demonstrate to the public within those nations that their governments are to blame for their isolation.

Successful engagement will depend upon the effective use and integration of different elements of American power. Our diplomacy and development capabilities must help prevent conflict, spur economic growth, strengthen weak and failing states, lift people out of poverty, combat climate change and epidemic disease, and strengthen institutions of democratic governance. Our military will continue strengthening its capacity to partner with foreign

counterparts, train and assist security forces, and pursue military-to-military ties with a broad range of governments. We will continue to foster economic and financial transactions to advance our shared prosperity. And our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must cooperate effectively with foreign governments to anticipate events, respond to crises, and provide safety and security.

Finally, we will pursue engagement among peoples—not just governments—worldwide. The United States Government will make a sustained effort to engage civil society and citizens and facilitate increased connections among the American people and people around the world—through actions ranging from public service and educational exchanges to increased commerce and private sector partnerships. In many instances, these modes of engagement have a powerful and enduring impact beyond our borders and are a cost-effective way of projecting a positive vision of American leadership. Time and again, we have seen that the best ambassadors for Ameri- can values and interests are the American people—our businesses, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, athletes, artists, military service members, and students.

Facilitating increased international engagement outside of government will help prepare our country to thrive in a global economy while building the goodwill and relationships invaluable to sustaining American leadership. It also helps leverage strengths unique to America—our diversity and diaspora populations, our openness and creativity, and the values our people embody in their own lives.


Our engagement will underpin a just and sustainable international order—because it advances mutual interests, protects the rights of all, and holds accountable those who refuse to meet their responsibilities; sustainable because it is based on broadly shared norms and fosters collective action to address common challenges.

This engagement will pursue an international order that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations. As we did after World War II, we must follow a rules-based global system that can advance our interests by serving mutual interests. International institutions must be more effective and representative of the diffusion of influence in the 21st century. Nations must have incentives to behave responsibly or be isolated when they do not. The test of this international order must be the cooperation it facilitates and the results it generates—the ability of nations to come together.

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