American Internationalism Project

The American internationalism of the 20th century has become a victim of its own success; its greatest goals – the defeat of Fascism and Communism – have been attained.  And so it is perhaps no surprise that the bipartisan domestic commitment to the global compact in force since the end of World War II has begun to crumble.   Fiscal constraints, weariness with war and isolationism are eroding the American will to lead. The nation has often chafed “at the burden of our obligations.” But what once appeared to be a truism of an earlier era – the willingness to shoulder “the burdens of leadership in the free world" – has ceased to resonate with many Americans.  

American internationalism has never been simply a response to threats, but an expression of who Americans are and what kind of world we want to live in. Our Founders outlined universal political truths: life – that is, security – liberty – that is, political freedom – and the pursuit of happiness – private, civic and economic liberties. To us, this is what defines a just world.  Moreover, the greater the acceptance of these values around the world, the more peace, security and economic prosperity the U.S. has enjoyed.

But how do these principles apply in a new era?  In particular, what are America’s security interests and how should they be safeguarded?  The world is as complex and dangerous as it has been in many decades.  Only a few years ago, the nation sustained an attack more devastating than anything seen in half a century.  Global terrorism, radical Islam, the rise of China, the spread of nuclear weapons, economic turmoil, the instability of South Asia, and a growing arc of states in turmoil across Africa and the Middle East present challenges to our security and well-being.

How shall we meet them?  How shall we define and prioritize our interests?  Can regional issues be subcontracted to others?  And can we continue to enjoy relative prosperity without the engagement that characterized recent decades?  Through a series of working groups, reports and conferences, this Project seeks to craft a new bipartisan consensus to define America’s global role, identifying the building blocks and requirements of American internationalism in a new century.

For more information, please contact Phillip Lohaus at phillip.lohaus@aei.org or 202-862-5932.

 

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About the Author

 

Jon
Kyl
  • An attorney by training, Jon Kyl served 18 years in the US Senate after serving for eight years in the US House of Representatives. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues in 2008 to serve as Republican whip, the second-highest position in the Senate Republican leadership, a position he held until his retirement in 2013.
     
    As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he helped write reforms to US patent law and the landmark Crime Victims’ Rights Act, as well as important provisions of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and other antiterrorism laws.
     
    As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, he was a chief advocate of pro-growth tax policies, including low tax rates on income, capital gains, dividends, and estates. He was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the so-called “Super Committee.”
     
    At AEI, Senator Kyl will join former Senator Joseph Lieberman to lead the American Internationalism Project, an important new effort from AEI's Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies. The project's focus will be to rebuild and reshape a bipartisan consensus around American global leadership and engagement.

  • Assistant Info

    Name: Alex Della Rocchetta
    Phone: 202.862.7152
    Email: alex.dellarocchetta@aei.org

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