The United States is about to enter its first presidential transition since the September 11 attacks. In January 2009, President-elect John McCain or Barack Obama will face a radically different world than the one that George W. Bush inherited. Beyond the instability in the Middle East, several large, assertive powers—-China, India, and Russia—-have reemerged on the world stage. Two others, the European Union and Japan, remain strong and are going through their own transitions. This strategic environment is unlike any the United States has ever encountered. This new landscape poses risks but also offers opportunities for the United States if it takes advantage of the moment. The next administration must invest anew at home and harness the power of these new players, particularly through a new forum that can tackle the greatest threats to contemporary global security.
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