Moderator Dr. Richard Danzig led the panel discussion of the CNAS report “The Inheritance and the Way Forward,” written by co-founders Kurt Campbell and Michèle Flournoy.
Campbell led with an overview of the report, which outlines the daunting challenges in some policy areas and progress in others that the next president will inherit. Understanding the full depth of the nature of this inheritance, he said, is one of the most important things the next president and his or her administration must do. Commentators James B. Steinberg, Dr. Francis Fukuyama, and Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter discussed the report’s ten recommendations for the next president, including reconceptualizing the so-called global war on terror, restoring U.S. dedication to the rule of law in the world, and the relationship between soft power efforts and national security. Questions that the commentators took from the audience included whether the processes in place for policy formulation were adequate, how the United States can restore its influence with world opinion of the country so low, and what positive policies from Bush’s term should be continued into the next administration. The panel’s consensus was that the mixed positive and negative aspects of the next president’s inheritance, as outlined in the CNAS report, will be vital to understand, manage, and, in some cases, build upon.