Part of Transatlantic Security

The Future of the West

Today’s complex and evolving international security environment presents substantial challenges for Western democracies. Not only do the United States and its allies face difficulties protecting their citizens from terrorism and rogue states, but they also must simultaneously manage relations with other world powers, namely Russia and China, that are actively challenging the liberal international order. Western democracies are also grappling with the fact that some of their citizens have lost faith in the ability of national governments and international institutions to adequately meet their needs.

The Transatlantic Security Program’s work on the Future of the West recognizes that while the system of alliances and institutions established in the 20th century is imperfect and in need of reform, it is also indispensable. From researching U.S. grand strategy and geopolitical shifts to promoting principled U.S. engagement to engaging audiences outside of national capitals on ways to uphold but also adapt the liberal world order, the Transatlantic Security Program’s work on the Future of the West promotes Western institutions, alliances, and values. But it also seeks to help the international system that was created nearly 70 years ago be more inclusive, responsive, and effective.

In May 2016, the program released the report “Extending American Power: Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order,” which was the culmination of a year-long project that promoted the idea that American leadership is crucial to preserving and strengthening the current international order. During the course of this project, the program convened a series of bipartisan meetings bringing together current and former government officials, strategists, and scholars to shape the national conversation on America’s role in the world during the run-up to the presidential election. Co-chaired by Dr. Robert Kagan and the Honorable James P. Rubin, the group discussed a range of regional and functional issues, from the Middle East to Asia to the international economy. Throughout the series, the bipartisan group agreed that despite the current unprecedented polarization of American politics, strong U.S. leadership is indispensable to Western democracies.

In addition to conducting in-depth research projects, the program has published numerous commentaries on strategic challenges facing the United States.

In the summer of 2017, the Transatlantic Security Program will launch a new program titled “People to People,” which will engage “grasstop” leaders in 12 cities across the United States. The goal of this project is to discuss and debate U.S. alliances; the future of the West; Russia; and the economic, political, and security challenges facing the United States and its European allies.

Support CNAS

Recent Publications

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia