Writing in The Diplomat, William C. Martel, a professor at Tufts, has some words of advice for American policymakers in a time of global challenges.
Quit fucking around, and act like the leader of the free world.
Well, that’s the short version.
A strategic weakness with American foreign policy is the deep and enduring political polarization in Washington that complicates, and often paralyzes, U.S. policymaking. While the United States once conducted its foreign policy on a bipartisan basis, we now see divisions on virtually all issues. Washington’s failure to move beyond this polarized environment puts at risk its ability to act with one voice on foreign policy. Essentially, it puts at risk the entire enterprise of grand strategy because a deeply divided nation cannot implement its resources and interests effectively.
By definition, American grand strategy demands that policymakers and politicians take the long view. While it is an enduring challenge for policymakers in Washington to look beyond the next election, the nation has no choice. It must build a grand strategy that addresses how the United States deals with the future that extends beyond the coming months or years. Abroad, the nation must work with other states and institutions to shape the secure international order that all states desperately need. The alternative is a world marked by uncertainty, fear, and strife.
He also recommends that the American Grand Strategy must include rebuilding the national infrastructure, including the digital one, get our heads out of the sands regarding China and Russia’s power plays, and seek to work together with our allies, instead of trying “cowboy politics.”
It’s the last essay of three written by Martel. Well worth the time to read them all.