Throughout U.S. history, grand strategy has navigated between two unacceptable extremes: Empire America and Fortress America. Being an empire -- governing other lands and peoples outside the U.S. Constitution -- is an affront to America's core principles of democracy and self-government. Isolationism, in turn, risks the certain rise of unacceptable threats to commerce, security, and basic American values.
In the face of the present danger and in the best tradition of the republic, America's response must be to lead. The country must put its own house in order and, with willing partners, author a prosperous, secure, and sustainable future. The task is clear: The United States must lead the global transition to sustainability.
While some great powers and world capitals have been warning of these dangers for some time, it is clear that the effort ultimately requires an upgrade to the current international system. This will require the kind of principled, consistent leadership and hard-nosed geopolitics that only America, at its best, is able to deliver.
America must once again start at home. For a limited time, it will be able to transition its economy to generate sustainable prosperity from deep pools of demand and underutilized capital. Once America commits, with its credibility on the mend and its economy as a wind at its back, it must then lead a new global partnership of major economies to adapt the international order. The halting logic of unwieldy climate negotiations will be supplanted by harnessing the greater force of economic self-interest: The United States will have to work with its partners to forge, implement, and verify a durable transition framework among the world's major economies.V/R