America in the 21st Century

Hachigian and Sutphen speak about their new book, The Next American Century, at a CAP event.

“How will the rise of China, Russia, etc affect the future of the United States? Will our children be safer or less safe? Healthier or less healthy?” asked Nina Hachigian at a Center for American Progress event today. “For the first time in memory, we have several large, assertive nations coming onto the scene,” and the challenge for the United States will be to continue to thrive among them.

Hachigian, a Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress, and Mona Sutphen, Managing Director at Stonebridge International LLC, addressed these questions and more in their new book The Next American Century. Last week they spoke at the Center for American Progress about the book and the future of American foreign policy.

The United States must learn to accommodate the rise of national powers while maintaining a strong American presence on the world scene. John Podesta, President and CEO of CAP, argued that we must “create a world order than can thrive again in this new century.” Hachigian added that an orderly world based on prosperity and peace is a commonly held goal among nations.

To achieve this goal, the United States must focus on strategic collaboration with four main components: focusing on long-term U.S. strength, building constructive relationships with the other five major powers, gathering those powers around one table for a Core 6 forum, all while continuing to hedge our bets by maintaining military force and conducting greater research into the motivations and resources of other nations. Instead of focusing on a doctrine of primacy, a collaborative world should encourage other major powers to both pay and play.

Effective promotion of democracy, or leading by example, will be key to maintaining legitimacy in the world arena according to Sutphen. Collaboration with rising powers might mean abandoning long-held views about democracy and overlooking suspect situations such as China’s oil dealings with Sudan. But it could also serve to bring increased democratization as major powers conform to globalized standards of human rights.

Sutphen argued that the United States should employ creative public policy solutions to remain competitive, such as wage insurance, universal retirement accounts, and universal health care. From protecting workers who lose their jobs to increasing education to compete with India, the United States needs to exemplify strong leadership on social legislation. Through a combination of strong American leadership and global collaboration on issues like health and national security, Hachigian argued, the United States can return to a time when “we were a beacon of our own values, and we exemplified those values.”

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