To Thrive, Americans Need Global Community, Not Selfish Anarchy

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In a recent op-ed, National Security Advisor General H. R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn proclaim a basic fact of world politics as they see it: “The world is not a ‘global community,’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.” This timeless principle, they suggest, reflects the “elemental nature of international affairs” and points to the need for a foreign policy devoted to the self-defined pursuit of U.S. interests.

McMaster and Cohn’s emphasis on safeguarding U.S. interests is entirely appropriate, and they offer some important reassurances about a desire “to develop relationships and foster cooperation.” But on the broader point, there is powerful evidence that many countries do consider themselves part of an emerging global community—and that this reality represents America’s most powerful competitive advantage.  U.S. foreign and national security strategy is much stronger when it works to reflect and build such a community.

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