May 16, 2016

CNAS Project on Extending American Power Releases Final Report


Washington, May 16 – The Center for a New American Security’s (CNAS) Extending American Power (EAP) Project today released its final report, which is the culmination of the year-long EAP series co-chaired by Dr. Robert Kagan and the Hon. James P. Rubin. Over the course of the last year, a group of current and former government officials, strategists, and scholars spanning the political spectrum met monthly with the goal of bringing together a bipartisan group to help shape the national conversation on America’s role in the world during the run-up to the November 2016 presidential election. During its meetings, the group discussed a range of regional and functional issues from the Middle East to Asia to the international economy. At a time when partisanship in the American political establishment has reached unprecedented heights, CNAS believes it is more important than ever to rebuild the national consensus on America’s role in the world. This project promotes the idea that American leadership is critical to preserving and strengthening the bedrock of today’s international order, which is being shaken by a variety of forces. The final report comes at a critical time, as U.S. allies are calling for increased U.S. engagement, and the American public is debating a greater international role.

The Extending American Power Project’s final report is available here:

Signatories to the report include: 

  • The Hon. Kurt Campbell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Asia Group, LLC; Co-Founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, Center for a New American Security
  • The Hon. Eric Edelman, Counselor, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • The Hon. Michèle Flournoy, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Center for a New American Security
  • Mr. Richard Fontaine, President, Center for a New American Security.
  • The Hon. Stephen J. Hadley, Principal, RiceHadleyGates, former National Security Advisor
  • Dr. Robert Kagan, (Co-chairman), Senior Fellow, Project on International Order and Strategy, The Brookings Institution
  • The Hon. James P. Rubin, (Co-chairman), Former Assistant Secretary of State and Chief Spokesman during the Clinton Administration; Senior Advisor to CNAS from 2015–2016; and regular Columnist for the Sunday Times in London
  • Ms. Julianne Smith, Senior Fellow and Director, Strategy and Statecraft Program, Center for a New American Security
  • The Hon. James Steinberg, Dean and Professor of Social Science, International Affairs, and Law, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
  • The Hon. Robert Zoellick, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The introduction to the report is available below:

The world order created in the aftermath of World War II has produced immense benefits for peoples across the planet. The past 70 years have seen an unprecedented growth in global prosperity, lifting billions out of poverty. Democratic government, once rare, has spread to over 100 nations. Above all, for 70 years there have been no cataclysmic wars among great powers of the kind that devastated Europe and Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

It is easy for Americans to take the benefits of this international order for granted without fully appreciating the critical leadership role the U.S. government has played in creating and sustaining this economic, political, and security system. American military power, the dynamism of the U.S. economy, and the great number of close alliances and friendships the United States enjoys with other powers and peoples have provided the critical architecture in which this liberal order has flourished.

To preserve and strengthen this order will require a renewal of American leadership in the international system. Today, the very bedrock of this order is being shaken by a variety of forces – powerful and ambitious authoritarian governments like Russia and China, radical Islamic terrorist movements, long-term shifts in the global economy, the rise of non-state actors, the challenges of cyberspace, and changes in our physical environment.

Many around the world who once decried American overseas involvement as “hegemonic” now seek greater American engagement in international affairs and worry more about American retrenchment. This view is especially strongly held in the three regions where the United States has carried the main burden of providing security since World War II: East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In all three, as well as in Latin America and Africa, American allies and partners seek more involvement by the United States not less.

The greatest challenge to the preservation of this order today may be here in the United States. The bipartisan consensus that has long supported America’s engagement with the world is under attack by detractors in both parties. Responsible political leaders need to explain to a new generation of Americans how important this world order is to their well-being and how vital America’s role is in sustaining it.