The next president has the opportunity to re-engage the international community and reposition America to lead. But this will take clear signals from the White House that the new administration is ready and willing to engage, and recognition that just as our own foreign policy architecture is out of date, so too is the international architecture in urgent need of reform. The next president can move on both fronts by taking four steps.
First, he should work with Congress to ensure that the United States can fully cover its U.N. arrears within the first year of a new administration. As happened during the 1990s, the failure of the United States to pay its dues both hinders U.N. operations in critical areas such as peacekeeping, but also undermines our ability to make the case for, or demand, critical reforms.
Second, in an effort to begin reconciling our national interests and our global security, the next president should work with Congress, across the whole of government, and with allies from the developed and developing worlds to craft a strategy for global food security. The worldwide crisis that erupted when food prices nearly doubled exposed the need to harmonize policies in an interconnected world, and has affected consumers in every country in the world.
Third, the next president should initiate the next phase of PEPFAR. While giving full credit to President Bush for launching and robustly funding the initiative, the next president should provide a larger share of HIV/AIDS funding through the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, signaling our willingness to work collectively to address the global challenge that these diseases represent.
Fourth and finally, the next president should make Darfur—and indeed the issue of crimes against humanity across the globe—a top priority. There is little chance that the Darfur crisis will be resolved by next January, but there are plenty of other places where crimes against humanity are going untended by the world.
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