Pursuing the Global Common Good

Principle and Practice in U.S. Foreign Policy


More about the Faith & Progressive Policy project

When is war justified? Is the use of torture ever acceptable? Do we have a moral responsibility to intervene against atrocities thousands of miles away? These are some of the issues addressed in a new book by policy experts and faith leaders, published by the Center for American Progress. Pursuing the Global Common Good argues that U.S. foreign policy must go beyond preconceived notions of national self-interest and security by including our ethical obligations to the global community. Whether arguing against unjust wars or for our responsibility to lead against global warming, these essays dispel the faulty view that our national interests conflict with our ethical obligations. To the contrary, they make a strong case that we can do better by doing good because our nation’s self-interest and its moral responsibilities are intertwined.

Read about the event featuring several of the authors at the Center for American Progress.

Download (mp4).

Table of Contents


October 15, 2007: Pursuing the Global Common Good panel discussion and book release

October 18, 2006: Common Good Conference


“Many often deride the influence of values and religious beliefs in the making of U.S. foreign policy as irrelevant or not in the ‘national interest.’ This couldn’t be further from the truth. Pursuing the Global Common Good tells us why.”
—Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State and author of The Mighty and the Almighty

“American foreign policy has been at its best when it linked our national interest to an engagement with the global common good. Our religious traditions are at their best when they challenge us to find realistic ways of engaging the world that are true to our moral commitments and our values. At a moment when we badly need creative thinking, Pursuing the Global Common Good is exciting because it suggests steps that are, at once, right, practical and visionary. By suggesting that there can be such a thing as a ‘common good’ in world affairs, this book will help open the debate we need.”
—E. J. Dionne Jr., syndicated columnist, Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and author of the forthcoming book, Souled Out: Renewing Faith and Politics After the Religious Right

“Our deepest beliefs and religious traditions tell us to respect all humanity and seek justice and peace on earth. Why, then, would we separate our highest principles from the activities of our representative government? By demonstrating how moral vision can have a concrete impact on policy, Pursuing the Global Common Good makes a convincing case for a U.S. foreign policy that lives up to our highest ideals.”
—Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism