October 18, 2017

'Across the Pond, In the Field': bringing U.S. foreign policy out of the Washington bubble

By Julianne Smith

Like many folks in the nation’s capital, I’m not originally from Washington. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and return home to the Midwest at least a couple times every year. For the 20 years that I’ve lived and worked in Washington, I’ve considered myself to be relatively grounded and attuned to the sentiments and perspectives of everyday Americans. I have also been operating under the assumption that the divide between the right and the left is one of our greatest challenges.

It turns out that I was wrong, on a number of counts.

The election of Donald Trump last November revealed many things but for me, one lesson stood out: the widening disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country. For the record, I still worry about the widening disconnect between the right and left but at least in my field of national security, there exists a strong bipartisan consensus on the basic tenets of U.S. foreign policy. Republican and Democratic leaders working on national security, whether that’s in the government, think tanks or in Congress, tend to agree on the value of global trade, democratic governance, human rights, and global and regional alliances. Do they argue over what to do about the Iran deal and North Korea? Absolutely. But both parties have worked for decades to preserve and promote U.S. values and protect the world order that we helped create with our European allies some 70 years ago.

Read the full op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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