September 14, 2007
CSIS Commission on Smart Power
A Smarter, More Secure America
By Carola McGiffert
Welcome to the CSIS Smart Power blog, a one-stop resource for policy makers and citizens alike to engage in a non-partisan and forward-looking dialogue on the nature of American leadership in the 21st century.
Six years ago, the world stood behind the United States in horror and grief over the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. Le Monde declared “Nous sommes tous Americains.” Today, the polls tell a different story: U.S. image and influence are at all-time lows in much of the world. Even our closest allies have questioned American values and interests, and whether they are compatible with their own. Of course, leadership is not a popularity contest, but the United States will never accomplish its goals – to keep America safe and prosperous while simultaneously promoting the global public good – if we do not have the respect of the world community.
While we must continue to grapple with the real and dangerous challenges of terrorism and Iraq, we must also look beyond these priorities to see the big picture. We have other challenges, at home and abroad – rising powers who may not share our values; global poverty and health crises; uncertainty about our future energy security; and climate change. But we also have countless resources and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of Americans and peoples around the world. Engagement with the world is mandatory for America’s continued national and economic security, but we lack a unified strategy. American values, commitment, innovation and investment can together ensure that we not only remain the strongest military power in the world, but also that we regain our ability to inspire and attract – and that we combine our hard and soft powers into a smarter approach for the 21st century.
In 2006, CSIS launched a high level, bipartisan Smart Power Commission to address this critical issue of Smart Power, and to develop concrete recommendations to guide the political candidates – one of whom will be the next president of the United States — as they develop their foreign policy platforms. The Commission has drawn from an ongoing CSIS “Dialogue with America,” designed to take the temperature of Americans from around the country, across the political spectrum, and from a diverse range of constituency groups. Based on the recommendations of the Commission, the qualitative data from the “Dialogue with America,” and the hard analysis of CSIS experts, we seek to maximize our resources to ensure a Smart Power agenda for the next administration.
We hope you will explore this blog to learn more about the Commission, its work, and the other activities that CSIS is spearheading to ensure that the next president of the United States, regardless of political party, promotes a Smart Power approach to American leadership. We are not alone in this important endeavor; a number of other organizations have undertaken like-minded initiatives and we applaud their work. We look forward to using this blog as a forum to engage with these efforts, share ideas, and advance the Smart Power message. Moreover, we hope you will actively engage in the blog, adding your voice to this critical debate over how to ensure that the United States becomes a safer and stronger nation, but also one that is more engaged and more compassionate in the world.
While the Smart Power Commission will publish its final report on November 6, 2007, this blog will continue to live on through the 2008 presidential election and beyond. It will be updated approximately twice each week. CSIS scholars have lent their expertise to the Commission, and their papers will be posted regularly. The blog will also be used as a forum to monitor and discuss key publications and world events. Regular “newsbriefs” (our recommended reading list) will also be posted regularly. Blog editors will determine which comments will be posted. To encourage open and thoughtful discussion, partisan commentaries will automatically be rejected.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Posted by Naxal Watch at 9:38 AM